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THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



m 
. . fi 




5 i 




HANDBOOK OF PAINTING. 



TUB 



ITALIAN SCHOOLS. 

BASED ON THE HANDBOOK OF KUGLEE. 

ORIGINALLY EDITED 

BY THE LATE SIR CHARLES L. EASTLAKE, P.E.A. 

V 

FOURTH EDITION. 
REVISED AND REMODELLED FROM THE LATEST RESEARCHES, 

BY LADY EASTLAKE. 



Illustrations. 



IN TWO PARTS. PART I. 



LONDON: 
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET. 

1874. 

The riyht of Translation is reserved 



LOS-DON : 
PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SON'S, 

STAMFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS. 




Art 

Library 

Mb 
(all 



\ , 



PEEFACE TO THE PRESENT EDITION. 



IT is now more than forty years since the materials for a History of 
the Italian Schools of Painting were collected by Heir Kugler of 
Berlin, a gentleman of high reputation among the German Art- 
critics who, at that time, led the way in ardour and thoroughness 
of investigation. These materials were first presented by him to the 
German public in 1837, under the title of ' Handbook of the History 
of Painting from the Age of Constantino to the Present Times.' 
In 1841 an English translation by a Lady, edited by Sir Charles 
Eastlake, was published in this country. This supplied a need 
which the increasing attention to the history of Painting, and 
especially the new and growing interest in the early Italian schools, 
had made apparent. In 1847 a fresh edition of the German work 
appeared, especially enriched with a fuller description of the Cata- 
comb wall-paintings, and of the early Christian mosaics, by the 
pen of Dr. Jacob Burckhardt. This, in its turn, with the revision 
of Sir Charles Eastlake, assumed an English form, appeared as a 
second edition in 1851, and was succeeded by a third edition in 
1855, which has remained the chief guide of the English traveller 
in Italy. 

In no department of history, however, have more important 
changes and additions been made, curing the last twenty years, than 
in that of the Italian schools of Painting. The results are shown in 
numerous and remarkable accessions to the National Gallery of 
England, and also in the gradually correcting nomenclature which 
is taking place in all collections of the old masters. Kugler's 
Handbook, therefore, though embodying much that is permanent, 

b 



iv PREFACE TO THE PRESENT EDITION. 

had ceased to represent the standard knowledge of the day. A 
new edition, with considerable alterations and extensions, is now 
presented to the public. The fresh matter imported into it, as well 
as the corrections of the old text, are derived chiefly from two 
sources : firstly, from the five volumes of the ' History of Painting 
in Italy,' hitherto published by Messrs. Crowe and Cavalcaselle, 
whose researches have, in many respects, created a revolution in the 
history of early Art, but who, however, stop, for the present, short 
of some of the greatest names of the Cinque-cento ; and secondly, 
from the careful notes by the late Sir Charles Eastlake, collected 
during his frequent visits to Italy. The valuable memoranda of the 
late Mr. Miindler also, as embodied in the ' Cicerone for Italy,' a 
work compiled by Dr. Jacob Burckhardt, edited by Dr. v. Zahn, 
and translated by Mrs. A. H. Clough, have been consulted. 

It remains only to be said that the original notes to Kugler's 
Handbook, supplied by Sir Charles L. Eastlake, and designated by 
the signature " Ed.," will now be recognised, when not embodied in 
the text, by the initials C. L. E. 

LONDON, May 1874. 



PEEFACE BY SIE CHAELES L. EASTLAKE TO 
FIEST ENGLISH EDITION. 



IN tracing the history of Painting and the different character of its 
schools, we find that an equal measure of the world's approbation 
has been sometimes awarded to productions apparently opposite in 
their style and aim. This is not to be explained by the variety of 
tastes in connoisseurs ; for, allowing for all individual and peculiar 
predilections, the approbation in question may be admitted to be 
universal. This admission supposes the existence of some less 
mutable criterion ; and it is therefore important to inquire what are 
its grounds. 

Considered generally, the Arts are assumed to have a common 
character and end : this principle is, however, too vague and unde- 
fined to meet the question we have started. The opposite process 
the discrimination of the different means by which a common 
end is arrived at will be found to lead to more definite and in- 
telligible results. In all the Fine Arts some external attraction, 
some element of beauty, is the vehicle of mental pleasure or moral 
interest ; but in considering the special form, or means, of any one 
of the Arts, as distinguished from the rest, the excellence of each 
will be found not to arise from the qualities which it possesses in 
common with its rivals, but from those qualities which are peculiar 
to itself. 

We thus comprehend why various schools have attained great 
celebrity in spite of certain defects. It is because their defects are 
generally such as other modes of expression covild easily and better 
supply : their excellences, on the contrary, are their own, and not to 
be attained except in the form of art proper to them. Such ex- 
cellences constitute what may be called SPECIFIC STYLE. 

Accordingly, it may always be assumed that pictures of acknow- 
ledged merit, of whatever school, owe their reputation to the 

6 2 



PREFACE TO FIRST ENGLISH EDITION. 



display of qualities that belong to the art of Painting. In 
histories of painting these merits are often attempted to be conveyed 
in words, and the mode in which language endeavours to give an 
equivalent for the impressions produced by a picture is at once 
an illustration of the above principles. The changes of time, of 
motion, the imagined interchange of speech, the comparison with 
things not present all facts beyond the scope of a silent, stationary, 
and immutable Art are resorted to without scruple in describing 
pictures ; and yet the description does not therefore strike us as 
untrue. It will immediately be seen that the same liberty is 
allowable and necessary when representation enters into rivalry with 
description. The eye has its own poetry ; and as the mute lan- 
guage of nature in its simultaneous effect (the indispensable con- 
dition of harmony) produces impressions which words restricted 
to mere succession can but imperfectly embody, so the finest 
qualities of the formative arts are those which language cannot 
adequately convey.* On the same grounds it must be apparent that 
a servile attention to the letter of description, such as accuracy of 
historic details, exactness of costume, &c., are not essential in them- 
selves, but are valuable only in proportion as they assist the purposes 
of the art, or produce an effect on the imagination. This may 
sufficiently explain why an inattention to these points, on the part 
of great painters (and poets, as compared with mere historians), has 
interfered so little with their reputation. In this instance, while 
the powers of Painting are opposed to those of language generally, 
they are, on the same principle, distinguished in many respects from 
those of Poetry ; and in like manner, if we suppose a comparison 
with Sculpture, or with any other imitative art, the strength of 
Painting will still be found to consist in the attributes proper to 
itself. Of those attributes, some may be more prominent in one 
school, some in another ; but they are all valued in proportion as 
they are characteristic because, in short, the results are unattainable 
in the same perfection by any other means. 

The principle here dwelt on with regard to Painting is equally 
applicable to all the Fine Arts : each art, as such, is raised by raising 
its characteristic qualities ; each displays those means of expression in 
which its rivals are deficient, in order to compensate for those in which 
its rivals surpass it. The principle extends even to the rivalry of the 
formative Arts generally with nature. The absence of sound, and of 
progressive action, is supplied by a more significant, mute, and momen- 
tary appearance. The arrangement which, apparently artless, fixes 

* See Lessing's ' Laokoon.' Compare Harris, ' Three Treatises,' London, 
1744. 



PREFACE TO FIRST ENGLISH .EDITION. 



the attention on important points, the emphasis on essential as opposed 
to adventitious qualities, the power of selecting expressive forms, of 
arresting evanescent beauties, are all prerogatives and resources by 
means of which a feeble imitation successfully contends even with its 
great archetype. As this selection and adaptation are the qualities in 
which imitation, as opposed to nature, is strong, so any approach to 
literal rivalry is, as usual, in danger of betraying comparative weak- 
ness. Could the imitation of living objects, for example, in Painting 
or in Sculpture, be carried to absolute deception as regards their mere 
surface, we should only be the more reminded that life and motion 
were wanting. On the other hand, relative completeness, or that 
consistency of convention which suggests no want the test of style 
is attainable in the minuter as well as in the larger view of 
nature, and may be found in some of the Dutch as well as in 
the Italian masters. Even the elements of beauty, incompatible as 
they might seem to be with the subjects commonly treated by the 
Dutch, are found to reside in charm of colour, tone, chiaroscuro, and 
in other qualities. 

The rivalry of the Arts with Nature thus suggests the definition 
of their general style. The rivalry of Art with Art points out their 
specific style. Both relate to the means. The end of the Arts is 
denned not only by their general nature, but by the consideration to 
whom they are addressed. The necessity of appealing, directly or 
indirectly, to human sympathies, as distinguished from those asso- 
ciations and impressions which are the result of partial or peculiar 
study, tends to correct an exaggerated and exclusive attention to 
specific style, inasmuch as the end in question is more or less 
common to all the Fine Arts. The Genius of Painting might award 
the palm to Titian, but human beings would be more interested with 
the productions of Raphael. The claims of the different schools 
are thus ultimately balanced by the degrees in which they satisfy 
the mind ; but as the enlightened observer is apt to form his con- 
clusions by this latter standard alone, it has been the object of these 
remarks to invite his attention more especially to the excellence of 
the Art itself, on which the celebrity of every school more or less 
depends, and which, whatever be its themes, recommends itself by 
the evidence of mental labour, and in the end increases the sum of 
mental pleasure. 

Next to the nature of the art itself, the influence of religion, of 
social and political relations, and of letters, the modifying circum- 
stances of climate and of place, the character of a nation, a school, 
and an individual, and even the particular object of a particular 
painter, are to be taken into account, and open fresh sources of 



PREFACE TO FIRST ENGLISH EDITION. 



interest. With the cultivated observer, indeed, these associations are 
again in danger at first of superseding the consideration of the art 
as such ; but by whatever means attention is invited, the judgment 
is gradually exercised, and the eye unconsciously educated. 

In avoiding too precise a definition of the end of Art, it may 
nevertheless be well to remember, that so great a difference in the 
highest moral interests as that which existed between the Pagan 
and Christian world must of necessity involve important modifica- 
tions, even in the physical elements of imitation. However im- 
posing were the ideas of beauty and of power which the Pagan 
arrived at, by looking around but not above him, by deriving his 
religion as well as his taste from the perfect attributes of life 
throughout nature, the Christian definition of the human being, at 
least, must be admitted to rest on more just and comprehensive re- 
lations. It is true the general character of the art itself is un- 
changeable, and that character was never more accurately defined 
than in the sculpture of the ancient Greeks ; but new human feel- 
ings demanded corresponding means of expression, and it was chiefly 
reserved for Painting to embody them. That art, as treated by the 
great modern masters, had not, like Sculpture, a complete model in 
classic examples, and was thus essentially a modern creation. The 
qualities in which it is distinguished from the remaining specimens 
of classic Painting are, in fact, nearly identified with those which 
constitute its specific style. Hence, when carried to a perfection 
probably unknown to the ancients, and purified by a spiritual aim, 
the result sometimes became the worthy auxiliary of a religion that 
hallows, but by no means interdicts, the admiration of nature. 

The consideration of the influence of Eeligion on the Arts forces 
itself on the attention in investigating the progress of Painting, 
since so large a proportion of its creations was devoted to the ser- 
vice of the Church in many instances, we fear we must add, the 
service of superstition. Yet the difference or abuse of creeds may 
be said in most cases to affect works of art only in their extrinsic 
conditions ; the great painters were so generally penetrated with the 
spirit of the faith they illustrated, that the most unworthy sub- 
jects were often the vehicles of feelings to which all classes of 
Christians are more or less alive. The implicit recognition of 
apocryphal authorities is, however, not to be dissembled. Indeed 
some acquaintance with the legends and superstitions of the Middle 
Ages is as necessary to the intelligence of the contemporary works 
of art as the knowledge of the heathen mythology is to explain the 
subjects of Greek vases and marbles. Certain themes belong more 



PREFACE TO FIRST ENGLISH EDITION. 



especially to particular times and places; such are the incidents 
from the lives of the Saints, the predilection for which varied .with 
the devotional spirit of the age, and the habits of different countries 
and districts, to say nothing of successive canonizations.* Even 
Scripture subjects had their epochs : at first the dread of idolatry 
had the effect of introducing and consecrating a system of merely 
typical representation, and hence the characters and events of the 
Old Testament were long preferred to those of the New. The cycle 
from the latter, though augmented, like the Bible series generally, 
from apocryphal sources, was from first to last comparatively re- 
stricted, many subjects remaining untouched even in the best ages 
of Art. This is again to be explained by remembering, that while 
the scenes and personages of the Old Testament were understood to 
be figurative, those of the New were regarded as objects of direct 
edification, or even of homage, and hence were selected with caution. f 
In general, the incidents that exemplified the leading dogmas of 
faith were chosen in preference to others, and thus the Arts became 
the index of the tenets that were prominent at different periods. 

The selection, or at least the treatment, of subjects from the 
Gospels, may have been regulated in some instances also by their 
assumed correspondence with certain prophecies; indeed, the cir- 
cumstances alluded to in the predictions of the Old Testament are 
not unfrequently blended in pictures with the facts of the New. 
The subjects called the Deposition from the Cross, and the Pieta 
(the dead Christ mourned by the Marys and Disciples, or by the 
Madonna alone), may be thus explained.:}: Hence, too, the never- 
failing accompaniments of the Nativity ; hence the " Wise Men " 
are represented as kings, || and the Flight into Egypt is attended 
with the destruction of the idols.^f Subjects of this class were 
sometimes combined in regular cycles, which, in the form they 

* In altar-pieces it was common to represent Saints who lived in different 
ages, assembled round the enthroned Virgin and Child. This is not to be 
considered an anachronism, since it rather represented a heavenly than an 
earthly assembly. Many pictures of the kind in churches were the pro- 
perty or gift of private individuals, and in this case the selection of the 
Saints rested with the original proprietor. 

t "Picturse ecclesiarum sunt quasi libri laicorum," is the observation of 
a writer of the twelfth century. Contestor, Historic, Scholastica (Hist. 
Evang. c. 5). 

J Zechariah xii. 10. Isaiah i. 3. 

|| Psalm Ixxii. 10, 11. Certain accessories in pictures of this subject are 
derived from Isaiah Ix. 6. 

IT Isaiah xix. 1. (See Comestor, Hist. Evang. c. 10.) The incident may 
have been directly borrowed from an apocryphal source, the 'Evangelium 
Infantise.' Circumstances adopted from similar authorities were sometimes 
interwoven with the subjects of the New Testament. 



PREFACE TO FIRST ENGLISH EDITION. 



assumed after the revival of Art, probably had their origin in the 
selection of meditations for the Eosary (instituted in the thirteenth 
century): among these were the "Joys"* and " Sorrows "f of the 
Virgin, and the principal events of the Passion.! Other themes 
common at the same time had their appropriate application : the 
History of St. John the Baptist was the constant subject iu Baptis- 
teries ; the chapels especially dedicated to the Virgin were adorned 
with scenes from her life ; the hosts of heaven, " Thrones, 
Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers," || were sometimes in- 
troduced in cupolas ; but the more customary subjects were the 
Ascension of Christ and the Assumption of the Virgin.^ The sub- 

* 1. The Annunciation. 2. The Visitation. 3. The Nativity. 4. The 
Adoration of the Kings. 5. The Presentation in the Temple. 6. Christ 
found by his Mother in the Temple. 7. The Assumption and Coronatipn of 
the Virgin. 

t 1. The Prophecy of Simeon (Luke ii. 35). 2. The Flight into Egypt. 
3. Christ, while disputing with the Doctors in the Temple, missed by his 
Mother. 4. Christ betrayed. 5. The Crucifixion (the Virgin and St. John 
only present). 6. The Deposition from the Cross. 7. The Ascension (the 
Virgin left on earth). 

J The ' Seven Hours of the Passion ' were : 1. The Last Supper. 2. The 
Agony in the Garden. 3. Christ before Caiaphas. 4. Christ before Herod. 
5. Christ crowned with Thorns. 6. Pilate washing his Hands. 7. The 
Crucifixion (the centurion and others present). The more complete series 
contained, in addition to these and other subjects : The Flagellation. The 
Ecce Homo. The Procession to Calvary, or Christ bearing his Cross. The 
Entombment. The Descent into Limbus. The Resurrection. The Life of 
Christ contained, in addition to many of the above, the Baptism and Trans- 
figuration. The Life of the Virgin, though interwoven with that of Christ, 
formed, for the most part, a distinct series. The subjects of all these cycles 
varied in number, perhaps accordingly as they were separately or collectedly 
adapted to the divisions of the Rosary and Corona. The ' Speculum Salva- 
tionis ' (Augsburg edition) assigns seven to each of the first three series in 
the above order. The more ordinary division was five for each. 

See the ' Evangelium de Nativitate Marise,' and the ' Protevangelium 
Jacobi.' The subjects from the history of Joachim and Anna, the parents 
of the Virgin (painted by Taddeo Gaddi, Domenico Ghirlandajo, Gaudemio 
Ferrari, and others), are chiefly in the latter. 

|| The orders of angels, as represented by the Italian painters, appear to 
have been derived from a treatise ' De Hierarchia coelesti ' (c. 7-11), which 
bears the name of Dionysius Areopagita, and may be traced to Jewish 
sources. St. Thomas Aquinas (after Dionysius) gives the nine orders of 
angels as follows : " Seraphim, Cherubim, Throni, Dominationes, Virtutes, 
Potestates, Principatus, Archangeli, Angeli." Vasari ventured to cover a 
ceiling in Florence with "Illustrations" of a still profbunder lore the 
Cabala. See his ' Ragionamenti ' (Gior. 1). Compare Brucker, 'Hist. 
Philosophic.' 

^f This last subject frequently adorned the high altar. The subject of the 
Death of the Virgin, which occurs in MSS. of the Middle Ages, as well as in 
pictures of later date, was gradually superseded by it. For the legend, see 
the ' Flos Sanctorum ' (Aug. 25) and the ' Aurea Legenda :' both give the 
early authorities. 



PREFACE TO FIRST ENGLISH EDITION. 



jects of the Old Testament were universally considered as types : 
their assumed ulterior meaning is frequently explained in glosses of 
MS. Bibles, and in the ' Compendiums of Theology ' which were 
in the hands of all ecclesiastics. These commentaries contained 
much that may be traced to the early Fathers ; but during and after 
the revival of Art they were more immediately derived from the 
scholastic theologians,* whose writings appear to have had consider- 
able influence on the sacred Painting of Italy and Europe. 

* The most renowned of these doctors were of the Dominican order (de* 
Predicatori) ; the same fraternity afterwards boasted some distinguished 
painters (An-/clico da fiesole, Fra Bartolommeo, &c.), and on many accounts 
may be considered the chief medium of communication between the Church 
and its handmaid, Art. Among the earlier commentaries on Scripture 
evidently consulted by the painters, was the ' Historia Scholastica ' of 
Comestor, already referred to. 

In the Editor's Preface to the second edition of this Handbook (and more 
especially in the reprint of that Preface in his 'Contributions to the Litera- 
ture of the Fine Arts '), some works were enumerated which treat, more 
or less fully, of the Iconography and Legends of the Saints. But all such 
works may, in relation to these subjects, be now considered superseded by 
Mrs. Jameson's ' Poetry of Sacred and Legendary Art.' The first two 
volumes contain the legends of the Saints, Martyrs, &c. ; the third (a 
separate work), the legends of the Monastic Orders ; the remaining portion 
of the work treats of the history and legends of the Madonna. 



CONTENTS. 
BOOK I. 

EAELY CHBISTIAN AET. 



PAET I. 

LATER ROMAN STYLE. 

Monogram of Christ. Christian emblems. Images and miraculous 
portraits of Christ. Eoman Catacombs. Art of the Catacombs. 
Mosaics of Rome and Eavenna. Miniature-painting. Book of 
Joshua Pages 1 42 

PAET II. 

THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 

Authority of the Church in art. Gradual decline. Eavenna mosaics. 
Eoman - Byzantine works. Venetian - Byzantine mosaics. St. 
Mark's, Venice. Norman-Byzantine art. Sicilian mosaics. Byzan- 
tine miniatures. Vatican Menologium. Enamels. Embroideries. 
Agemina work. Art of Eussian Church. Art of Mount Athos. 
Sacred pictures ........ 43 89 



BOOK II. 

THE EOMANESQUE STYLE. 



AKT OF THE MIDDLE AGES IN ITALY. 

Independent Bomanesque style. Miniatures. Wall-paintings. 
Italian-Roman mosaics. Italian miniatures. Venetian mosaics. 
Torcello. St. Mark's. Cosmati family. Wall-paintings : Parma, 
Siena, Pisa, Assisi, and Florence. Guido rla Siena. Cimabue. 
Remains of Byzantine feeling. Margheritone da Arezzo. Neapolitan 
works 90116 



xi v CONTENTS. 



BOOK III. 
SECOND STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT. 



INTRODUCTION. 

Masters of the fourteenth century and followers Pages 117 120 

CHAPTER I. 

EARLY TUSCAN SCHOOLS. 

Giotto and follower?. Giotto's works at Assisi, Florence, Avignon, 
Padua, Florence again, Naples. Character of Giotto's art. Taddeo 
Gaddi and other scholars of Giotto. Cappella degli Spagnuoli. 
Campo Santo, Pisa. Pietro Loreuzetti. Francesco da Volterra. 
Orcagna. Sienese element. Spinello Aretino . . 120 162 

CHAPTER II. 

SIEN;:SE MASTERS AND THEIR FOLLOWERS. 

Duccio. Sirnone Martini. The Lorenzetti. Palazzo Pubblico, Siena. 
Taddeo and Domenico da Bartolo. Matteo da Siena. Don 
Lorenzo il Monaco. Fra Angelico .... 1G3 187 

CHAPTER III. 

SCHOOLS OF UPPEK ITALY. 

Independent Bolognese school. Lippo Dalmasio. Tommaso da 
Mutina. Early Paduan school. Giunto Padovano. D'Avanzo 
Veronese. Aldighiero da Zevio. "Wall-paintings in Verona, Milan, 
Cremona, and Parma. Byzantine art retained in Venice. Early 
Venetian school. Giovanni (Johannes Alamannus) and Antonio da 
Murano. Painters of the March of Ancona. Painters of Gubbio. 
Gentile da Fabriano ...... 187 211 

CHAPTER IV. 

EARLY SCHOOL OF NAPLES. 

Simone Napolitano. Colantonio del Fiore. II Zingaro . 211 214 



CONTENTS. 



BOOK IV. 
THIRD STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT. 



INTRODUCTION. 

Masters of the fifteenth century and followers . . Page 215 

CHAPTER I. 

TUSCAN SCHOOLS. 

Paolo Uccello. Andrea del Castagno. Dom. Veneziano. Masolino 
da Panicale. Masaccio. Fra Filippo Lippi. The Peselli. Cosimo 
Rosselli. Benozzo Gozzoli. Dom. Ghirlandajo. The Pollaiuoli. 
Verocchio. Luca Signorelli .... Pages 21G 252 

CHAPTER II. 

SCHOOLS OF L'MBEIA, AND MASTERS OF A SIMILAR STYLE. 

Pietro della Francesca. Melozzo da Forli. Marco Palmezzano. 
Giovanni Santi. -Niecolo Alunno. Benedetto Bonfigli. Pietro 
Penigiuo. Pinturicchio. L'Ingegno. Lo Spagna. II Bacchiacca. 
Francesco Francia. Sienese painters. Pacchiorotto. Del Pacchia. 

252288 

CHAPTER III. 

MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTl/KY. 

Vittore Pisano. Paduan school. Francesco Squarcione. Andrea 
Mantegna. Schools influenced by Mantegna. Vicenza : Bart. 
Montagna and others. Verona : Bonsignori, Paolo Moranda, and 
others. Ferrara: Cosimo Tura, Ercole and Giulio Grande, Lorenzc 
Costa. Cremona : Bocaccio Bocaccino. Milan : Bernardo Zenale, 
Andrea da Snlario, Bramantino. Certosa, Pavia. Borgognone. 
Parma. Lodi 289316 

CHAPTER IV. 

THE VENETIANS. 

Semi-Byzantine painters. School of Murano. Antonello da Messina. 
The Vivarini. Carlo Crivelli. Jacop Bellini. Gentile Bellini. 
Giovanni Bellini. Followers of Gio. Bellini : Vittore Carpaccio, 



xv i CONTENTS. 



Cima da Conegliano, Vincenzo Catena, Marco Basaiti, and others. 
Followers of Cima da- Conegliano : Pellegrino da S. Daniele and 
others Pages 316 343 



BOOK V. 

PEKIOD OP HIGHEST DEVELOPMENT, AND OF 
DECLINE. 



INTRODUCTION. 
Masters of the sixteenth century .... 344 346 

CHAPTER I. 

LEONARDO DA VINCI. 

Painters on whom Leonardo exercised influence : Piero di Cosimo, 
Lorenzo di Credi. Scholars of Leonardo: Bernardino Luini, Marco 
Oggione, And. Salaino, Beltraffio, Fr. Melzi, Cesare da Sesto, Gio. 
Pedrini, Gaudenzio Ferrari 347 370 

CHAPTER II. 

MICHAEL ANGELO BUONARROTI. 

Character of art, and works. Scholars. Marcello Venusti, Daniele da 
Volterra. Note on subjects of Sistine ceiling, by Sir Charles L. 
Eastlake 370389 

CHAPTER III. 

OTHER FLORENTINE MASTERS. 

Fra Bartolommeo. Mariotto Albertinelli. Bugiardini. Franc ia Bigio. 
Andrea del Sarto. Pontormo. II Rosso. Rid. Ghirlandajo. 
Raffaellino del Garbo 390406 

CHAPTER IV. 

RAPHAEL. 

Character of art, and works. Remarks on origin and original situation 
of the Tapestries, by Sir Charles L. Eastlake . . 406 475 



CONTENTS. xv ii 



CHAPTER V. 

SCHOLARS AND FOLLOWERS OF EAPHAEL. 

Giulio Romano. Primaticcio. Perino del Vaga. Gian. Fr. Penni. 
Andrea da Salerno. Scholars of Francia and followers of Raphael. 
Timoteo della Vite. Bagnacavallo. [nuocenzo da Imola. Cotignola. 
Ferrarese painters. Garofalo. Mazzolino. DossoDossi. L'Orto- 
lano. Other scholars of Raphael. Gio. da Udine. Engravers from 
Raphael Pages 475 492 

CHAPTER VI. 

MASTERS OF SIENA AND VERONA. 

Gianantonio Razzi. Beccafumi. Baldassare Peruzzi. Carotto. 

492496 

CHAPTER VII. 

CORBEOGIO. 

Character of art, and works. Scholars. Parmigianino. 497 508 

CHAPTER VIII. 

SCHOOLS OF VENICE. 

Giorgione. Character of art, and works. Sebastian del Piombo. 
II Palma Vecchio. Rocco Marconi. Lorenzo Lotto. Fr. and Gio. 
da Santa Croce. Cariani. Romanino. Moretto. Moroni. Callista 
da Lodi. Savoldo. Pordenone. Titian, character of art and works. 
Bonifazio. Schiavone. Paris Bordone. Tintoret. Paul Vero- 
nese. Jacopo da Ponte. The Bassani . . . 508 558 

CHAPTER IX. 

DECLINE OF ABT. THE MANNERISTS. 

Vasari. Agnolo Bronzino. Buroccio, and others . 559 otJb 



CONTENTS. 



BOOK VI. 

KESTORATION, AND SECOND DECLINE. 

MASTERS OF THE SEVENTEENTH AND EIGHTEENTH CENTURIES. 



CHAPTER I. 

ECLECTIC SCHOOLS. 

The Carracci. Domenichino. Albano. Guido Eeni. Guercino. 
Schedone. Sassoferrato. Eclectics of Cremona. The Compi. 
Eclectics of Milan. The Procaccini. Followers of Baroccio. 
Cigoli. Carlo Dolce Pages 569590 

CHAPTER H. 

THE NATURALIST I. 

M. A. da Caravaggio. Lo Spagnoletto. Salvator Rosa. Luca 
Giordano. Genre, flower, and architectural painters . 590 601 

CHAPTER III. 

RECENT EFFORTS. 

Latest Italian painters. Names of living Italian painters 602, 603 



INDEX ...... ... 604 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 



Ceiling in Catacomb of S. Calisto, Rome To face page 13 

Paintings on wall, left of entrance, of a chamber in the 
Catacomb of S. Calisto, representing DANIEL, JOB, and 
MOSES 14 

Paintings on wail of a chamber, right of entrance, in the 
Catacomb of S. Calisto, representing ELIJAH, a Figure 
in the attitude of Prayer, NOAH IN THE ARK, and THE 
RAISING OF LAZARUS 14 

Wall-painting in the Catacomb of S. Calisto, representing 
CHRIST AS A TEACHER, surrounded by the Vine, with 
Genii gathering the Fruit ., 14 

Mosaics of the 6th century in S. Vitale, Ravenna, repre- 
senting JUSTINIAN AND THEODORA 32 

Mosaics of the 9th century in S. Prassede, Rome .... 65 

Large picture by Guido da Siena, in the Church of S. Do- 

menico, Siena, dated 1221 105 

MADONNA ENTHRONED; by Cimabue, in S. Maria Novella, 

Florence 109 

Mosaic of the Tribune of St. John Lateran, Rome, executed 

by Jacobus Toriti, 1287-92 112 

Mosaics of the Tribune of S. Maria Maggiore, Rome, exe- 
cuted about 1300 113 

ST. FRANCIS WEDDED TO POVERTY ; by Giotto, in the Lower 

Church of S. Francesco, Assisi 122 

ST. FRANCIS IN GLORY ; by Giotto, on the Vault of the 

Lower Church of S. Francesco, Assisi 124 

THE NAVICELLA ; a mosaic, believed to be from a design by 

Giotto, in the Vestibule of St. Peter's, Rome .. .. 124 

Portrait of DANTE, by Giotto, in the Bargello, Florence .. 125 

Allegorical Figures of JUSTICE and PRUDENCE, by Giotto, in 

the Arena Chapel, Padua 127 

Allegorical Figures of FORTITUDE, TEMPERANCE, and IN- 

FIDKLITY, by Giotto, in the Arena Chapel, Padua .. 127 

THE TRIUMPH OF DEATH ; a fresco in the Campo Santo, Pisa 149 

THE LAST JUDGMENT AND HELL ; a fresco in the Campo 

Santo, Pisa 151 

THE MISFORTUNES OF JOB ; a fresco by Francesco da 

Volterra, in the Campo Santo, Pisa ., 154 

SCENE FROM THE HISTORY OF JOB ; a fresco by Francesco 

da Volterra, in the Campo Santo, Pisa 154 

C 



XX ILLUSTRATIONS. 



THE FALL OF LUCIFER, by Spinello of Arezzo ; a fresco in 

the Church of S. Maria degli Angeli, Arezzo .. To face page 161 

CHRIST'S ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM ; compartment from a 

large altar-piece by Duccio of Siena 164 

ANGEL AT SEPULCHRE ; compartment from same altar-piece 1C4 

" Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing." 
CHRIST FOUND IN THE TEMPLE ; a picture by Simone 
Martini, in the Royal Institution, Liverpool 169 

THE ANNUNCIATION ; by Angelico da Fiesole : one of the 
panel compartments from the presses formerly in 
SS. Annunziata ;. '.' 182 

THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT ; by Angelico da Fiesole : one of 
the panel compartments from the presses formerly in 
SS. Annunziata .. .. .. 182 

JUDAS RECEIVING THE MONEY ; CHRIST'S ENTRY INTO 

JERUSALEM, by Angelico da Fiesole : panel compart- 
ments from the presses formerly in SS. Annunziata . . 182 

CORONATION OF THE VIRGIN, AND MIRACLES OF ST. 
DOMINIC ; a picture by Angelico da Fiesole, now in the 
Louvre 184 

ST. STEPHEN PREACHING ; a fresco by Angelico da Fiesole, 

in the Vatican Chapel of Nicolas V 186 

ST. LAWRENCE ; a fresco by Angelico da Fiesole, in the 

Vatican Chapel of Nicolas V 186 

THE LANDING OF THE BODY OF ST. JAMES ; a fresco by 

Aldighiero, in the Cappella S. Felice, S. Antonio, Padua 194 

Fresco by D'Avanzo, in St. George's Chapel, Padua (two 

plates) , 197 

ADORATION OF THE KINGS ; by Gentile da Fabriano, Acca- 

do-mia, Florence 210 

HISTORY OF NOAH ; a fresco by Paolo Uccello, in S. Maria 

Novella, Florence 217 

NOAH'S SACRIFICE ; a fresco by Paolo Uccello, in S. Maria 

Novella, Florence 217 

HISTORY OF THE BAPTIST ; a fresco by Masolino da Panicale, 

Castiglione 220 

ST. CATHERINE ; a fresco by Masaccio, in S. Clemente, Rome 221 

THE FALL, by Filippino Lippi ; THE EXPULSION OF ADAM 
AND EVE, by Masaccio : frescoes in the Church of 
S. M. del Carmine, Florence 222 

THE TRIBUTE MONEY ; a fresco by Masaccio, in the Church 

of S. M. del Carmine, Florence 222 

ST. PETER BAPTIZING ; a fresco by Masaccio, in the Church 

of S. M. del-Carmine, Florence 222 

MARTYRDOM OF ST. PETER ; a fresco by Filippino Lippi, in the 

Church of S. M. del Carmine, Florence 222 

HISTORY OF ST. STEPHEN ; by Fra Filippo, Duomo, Prato .. 226 
MADONNA AND CHILD, WITH ANGELS; by S. Botticelli, 

in the Uffizi, Florence 229 



ILLUSTRATIONS. X xi 



Small allegorical painting (from the description of a picture 
by Apelles) relating to CALUMNY ; by S. Botticelli, in 
the Uffizi, Florence To face page 230 

THE HISTORY OF MOSES; a fresco by Sandro Botticelli, in 

the Sistine Chapel 231 

RESUSCITATION OF -THE KING'S SON, by Masaccio and 
Filippino Lippi ; a fresco in the Church of S. M. del 
Carmine, Florence ,, .. ,, 233 

ST. PAUL ADDRESSING ST. PETER IN PRISON ; from a fresco 

by Filippino Lippi, in the Carmine, Florence .. .. 233 

CHRIST'S SERMON ON THE MOUNT; a fresco in the Sistine 

Chapel, by Cosimo Rosselli 236 

NOAH AND HIS FAMILY ; a fresco in the Campo Santo, 

Pisa, by Benozzo Gozzoli 238 

ST. JEROME; a fresco by D. Ghirlandajo, in the Ognissanti, 

Florence ... .. .. 241 

THE CALLING OF PETER AND ANDREW ; a fresco in the 

Sistine Chapel, by D. Ghirlandajo 242 

THE DEATH OF ST. FRANCIS ; a fresco in S. Trinita, Florence, 

by D. Ghirlandajo 243 

THE BIRTH OF THE VIRGIN ; a fresco by Ghirlandajo, in 

the Choir of S. Maria Novella, Florence 243 

MARTYRDOM OF ST. SEBASTIAN; by Antonio Pollaiuolo, 

National Gallery 246 

BAPTISM OF CHRIST ; by Andrea del Verocchio, Accademia, 

Florence ., 247 

THE HISTORY OF MOSES ; a fresco in the Sistine Chapel, by 

Luca Signorelli 247 

Figures from Luca Signorelli's fresco of HELL, in the Duomo, 

Orvieto 250 

THE " FULMINATI :" DESTRUCTION OF THE WICKED ; part 

of a fresco by Luca Signorelli, in the Duomo, Orvieto 250 

SCHOOL OF PAN ; by Luca Signorelli, Marchesc Corsi, Flo- 
rence 251 

FEDERIGO DA URBINO IN TRIUMPHAL CAR ; by Pietro della 

Francesca, Uffizi Gallery, Florence 257 

MADONNA WITH SAINTS; an altar-piece by Giovanni Santi, 

at Montefiorentino 2G4 

Fresco in Palazzo del Consiglio, Perugia, by Benedetto Bonfigli 268 

CHRIST'S CHARGE TO PETER ; a fresco by Pietro Perugino, 

Sistine Chapel 270 

THE RESURRECTION ; by Pietro Perugino, Vatican .. .. 274 

ADORATION OF THE MAGI ; by Pietro Perugino, Citta della 

Pieve 274 

MADONNA AND CHILD, WITH ANGELS AND DONOR ; Altar- 
piece by Pinturicchio, Chapel of Sacristy, Duomo Nuovo, 
S. Severino 277 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 



LIFE OF ENEA SILVIO PICCOLOMINI; by Pinturicchio, 

Libreria, Siena To face page 278 

HOLY FAMILY, by Domenico di Paris Alfani 282 

Fresco in the Town-hall of Belluno, by Jacopo Montagnana . . 294 
S. EUFEMIA, by Mantegna, in the Brera 295 

HISTORY OF ST. JAMES ; by Andrea Mantegna, Eremitani 

Chapel, Padua.. .. 296 

Compartment from the TRIUMPH OF JULIUS CAESAR; a 
series of coloured designs by Andrea Mantegna, at 
Hampton Court (two plates) 298 

PIET! ; ascribed to Andrea Mantegna, in the Berlin Museum 299 

INCIDENT IN LIFE OF SCIPIO; in chiaroscuro, by Andrea 

Mantegna, National Gallery 299 

THE MADONNA ENTHRONED ; Altar-piece by Bart. Montagna, 

Brera 300 

Allegory ; by Lorenzo Costa, Louvre 307 

VIRGIN AND CHILD ENTHRONED ; by Giovanni and Antonio 

da Murano, Accademia Belle Arti, Venice 317 

THE CRUCIFIXION; by Antonello da Messina, Ertborn Col- 
lection, Antwerp Gallery 320 

An altar-piece painted by Bartolommeo Vivarini for a 

church at Bari, now in the Naples Gallery 321 

Altar-piece by Luigi Vivarini, Accademia, Venice .. .. 322 

Altar-piece by Carlo Crivelli, Dudley Gallery 323 

THE CRUCIFIXION ; by Jacopo Bellini, Verona 323 

PORTRAIT OF SULTAN, by Gentile Bellini ; Right Hon. A. H. 

Layard 324 

MIRACLE OF THE CROSS ; by Gentile Bellini, Accademia Belle 

Arti, Venice 324 

Altar-piece by Giovanni Bellini, S. Giobbe, Venice . . . . 329 

FEAST OF THE GODS ; by Giovanni Bellini, Alnwick Castle . . 331 
HISTORY OF ST. URSULA; by Vittore Carpaccio, Accademia 

Belle Arti, Venice ?> 332 

HISTORY OF THE CROSS ; by Giovanni Mansueti, in the Ac- 
cademia, Venice 334 

INCREDULITY OF ST. THOMAS; by Cima da Conegliano, Brera 336 

AGONY IN GARDEN ; by Marco Basaiti, Accademia, Venice 337 

MARRIAGE OF ST. CATHERINE ; by Cordelle Aghi .. .. 338 
CORONATION OF ST. CATHERINE ; by Bissolo, Accademia, 

Venice 339 

Group from Leonardo da Vinci's celebrated cartoon, THE 

BATTLE OF THE STANDARD 358 

ST. ANNA AND THE VIRGIN ; by Leonardo da Vinci, Louvre 360 

THE HOLY FAMILY ; a tempera painting by Michael Angelo, 

in the Tribune, Florence .. 374 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 



A portion of Michael Angelo's celebrated cartoon, SOLDIERS 

BATHING IN THE ARNO .. .. To face page 375 

A Group from the Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel 379 

THE LAST JUDGMENT ; a fresco by Michael Angelo, in the 
Sistine Chapel, showing its position with reference to 
the high altar .. "" 383 

THE CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL ; a fresco by Michael 

Angelo, in the Cappella Paolina 384 

DESCENT FROM THE CROSS ; by Daniele da Volterra . . . . 386 

LAST JUDGMENT; by Fra Bartolommeo, S. Maria Novella, 

Florence 391 

HOLY FAMILY ; by Fra Bartolommeo, Panshanger . . . . 392 

MARRIAGE OF THE TWO SS. CATHERINE ; by Fra Barto- 
lommeo, Pitti Palace, Florence 393 

A Group from Fra Bartolommeo's picture in S. Romano, Lucca 394 
ST. MARK ; by Fra Bartolommeo, in the Pitti 395 

THE PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE ; by Fra Bartolommeo, 

Belvedere Gallery, Vienna 395 

THE VISITATION ; by Mariotto Albertinelli, Uffizi Gallery, 

Florence 396 

BIRTH OF THE VIRGIN ; by Andrea del Sarto, SS. Annunziata, 

Florence 401 

THE " MADONNA DEL SACCO ;" by Andrea del Sarto, SS. 

Annunziata, Florence 401 

S. ZENOBIO RAISING A DEAD CHILD; by Ridolfo Ghir- 

landajo, Gallery of the Uffizi, Florence 405 

MADONNA AND CHILD, by Raffaellino del Garbo, Berlin 

Museum 406 

MADONNAS by Raphael, Plate 1 410 

Ancajani Raphael, attributed to Lo Spagna, Berlin Museum 411 

THE MARRIAGE OF IHE VIRGIN; by Raphael, Brera .. .. 413 

LAST SUPPER ; (?) by Pinturicchio, S. Onofrio, Florence .. 416 

MADONNAS by Raphael, Plate 2 417 

Raphael's first fresco ; S. Severe, Perugia 418 

MADONNA DEL CARDELLINO ; by Raphael, Tribune of the 

Uffizi, Florence 419 

THE ENTOMBMENT; by Raphael, Borghese Gallery, Rome .. 422 

LA DISPUTA DEL SACRAMENTO ; a fresco by Raphael, in the 

Stanza della Segnatura, Vatican 427 

POETRY, OR THE PARNASSUS ; a fresco by Raphael, Stanza 

della Segnatura, Vatican 428 

THE SCHOOL OF ATHENS; a fresco by Raphael, Stanza 

della Segnatura, Vatican 429 

HELIODORUS ; a fresco by Raphael, in the second Stanza of 

the Vatican 433 



xxiv ILLUSTRATIONS. 



THE STONING OF ST. STEPHEN; a tapestry of the Sistine 

series, in the Vatican .. ... To face page 444 

THE CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL ; a tapestry of the Sistine 

series, in the Vatican ,, 445 

APOSTLES; designed by Raphael and engraved by Marc 

Antonio (two plates) 448 

MADONNAS by Raphael, Plate 3 .. .. 451 

MADONNAS by Raphael, Plate 4 455 

ST. MICHAEL ; by Raphael, Louvre 461 

Lo SPASIMO ; by Raphael, in the Madrid Gallery 462 

THE TRANSFIGURATION ; by Raphael, Vatican Gallery . . 463 

DESTRUCTION OF THE GIANTS ; a fresco by Giulio Romano, 

in the Palazzo del Te, Mantua .. .. 478 

Side of an Apartment in the Palazzo del Te, Mantua ; 

fresco by Giulio Romano 478 

THE ASSUMPTION OF THE VIRGIN ; portion of Correggio's 

fresco, Parma .. 501 

MADONNA ADORING THE CHILD* by Correggio, in the 

Uffizi, Florence 502 

MOSES; by Parmigianino, in the Steccata, Parma .. .. 508 
MADONNA AND CHILD, WITH SS. HULFO AND BRIGIDA, 

Madrid Gallery ; .. 512 

S. LORENZO ENTHRONED; by Pordenone, Accademia Belle 

Arti, Venice .. .. 529 

THE ENTOMBMENT ; by Pordenone, in the Monte di Pieta, 

Treviso 529 

ST. PETER MARTYR ; by Titian, formerly in SS. Giovanni e 

Paolo, Venice ,. ,. ,, ,, ., ., .. ,, ,. 536 
THE COMMUNION OF ST. JEROME ; by Domenichino, Vatican 

Gallery .. .. .. '.'. 576 

PHCEBUS AND AURORA ; a fresco by Guido Reui, in a pavilion 

of the Rospigliosi Palace, Rome .. ,, 581 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 



XXV 



THE MADONNAS OF RAPHAEL. 







PAGE 




PAGE 


1. 


Berlin Museum 


410 


27. 


Garvagh, National Gallery 


451 


3. 


With SS. Francis and 




28. 


Diademe, Louvre . . . 


452 




Jerome, Berlin Museum 


411 


29. 


Madonna di Foligno, Rome 


457 


4. 


Hermitage, Petersburg . 


411 


30. 


Bridgewater, London . . 


452 


5. 


Del Gran Duca, Florence . 


415 


31. 


Formerly Rogers, London . 


452 


8. 


London (from S. Antonio 




32. 


Divin' Amore, Naples . . 


455 




convent, Perugia) . 


417 


33. 


Del Pesce, Escurial 


458 


9. 


Blenheim (1505) . . . 


417 


34. 


Delia Sedia, Florence . 


453 


10. 


Cardellino, Florence . 


419 


35. 


Delia Tenda, Munich . 


453 


11. 


Vienna (1506) .... 


418 


36. 


Under the Oak, Madrid 


456 


12. 


With the Palm-tree, London 


418 


37. 


The Pearl, Madrid. . . 


455 


13. 


Beardless Joseph, Peters- 




38. 


Of Francis I., Louvre . 


456 






421 


39. 


Small Holy Family, Louvre 


455 


14. 


Orleans (Duke d'Aumale) . 


420 


40. 


Di San Sisto, Dresden . 


459 


15. 


Canigiani, Munich . 


420 


41. 


Dell' Impannata, Florence 


454 


16. 


Pink 


420 


42. 


Riposo, Vienna. . . . 


456 


17. 


Tempi, Munich . . . 


419 


43. 


Madonna del Passeggio, 




18. 


Madonna and Sleeping 






London 


454 




Child ... 452 note 


44. 


Candelabra, London 


454 


19. 


Panshanger .... 


420 


45. 


Madonna among Ruins. 




20. 


Colonna, Berlin 


420 


46. 


" Ecce Agnus Dei," London 


456 


21. 


La Belle Jardiniere, Louvre 


419 


47. 


Delia Gatta, Naples . 


455 


22. 


Del Baldacchino, Florence 


422 


48. 


? Raphael, Uffizi, Florence . 


398 


23. 


With the Lamb, Escurial . 


421 


50. 


St. Luke painting the 




24. 


Wendelstadt. 






Madonna. Raphael look- 




25. 


Loreto or Lawrie, Florence 


452 




ing on, Rome . 


4G4 


26. 


Casa d'Alba, Petersburg . 


451 









HANDBOOK 



OF 



PAINTING IN ITALY, 



BOOK I. 

EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. 
PAET I. 

THE LATER ROMAN STYLE. 

GREEK art sprang from Greek religion. It was art which 
gave the Gods form, character, and reality. The statue of 
Jupiter Olympius brought the Father of the Gods himself 
before the eyes of men. He was deemed unfortunate who 
died without beholding that statue. Art, among the Greeks, 
was an occupation of a priestly character : as it belonged to 
her to lift the veil of mystery which concealed the Gods, so 
was it also her office to exalt and consecrate the human 
forms under which they could alone be represented. The 
image of the God was no mere copy from common and 
variable life ; it was stamped with a supernatural grandeur 
which raised the mind to a higher world. 

In subjugating the territories of Greece to their dominion, 
the Romans had also reduced Grecian civilization and 
Grecian art to their service. Wherever their legions ex- 
tended, these followed in their train. Wherever their 
splendid and colossal works, whether for public or private 
purposes, were carried on, Greek art, or such art as owed its 
invention originally to the Greeks, was called into requisi- 

B 



2 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book L 

tion. Every object of daily use bore its own particular 
impress of art. That which had been the natural product of 
the Grecian national mind, now, detached from its original 
home and purposes, assumed a more general character. The 
Grecian ideal of beauty became the ideal of all beauty. The 
types of Grecian art furnished the materials for a universal 
alphabet of art. And although that charm of beauty which 
is shed over the creations of the highest period of Greek art 
necessarily departed from her when she was led forth a 
wanderer among nations, yet the more general principles of 
form and proportion had been too firmly laid down to be 
easily alienated. Wherever she was seen, whether in the 
most barbaric luxury or in the vilest corruption of Roman 
life, some portion of that religious feeling which had given 
her birth was found cleaving to her outward forms ; and 
wherever these appeared, a world, peopled with beings, 
divine and heroic, met the eyes of the beholder. True to her 
calling, Art remained the most powerful prop of the old 
faith. 

The light of Christianity now broke upon the world, pro- 
claiming the truth of the one God, and of His Son our 
Saviour, and exposing the lie of Heathenism. A way had to 
be prepared for the spiritual renewal of mankind. Christ- 
ianity addressed herself to the inner man alone. Unlike the 
religions of Heathendom, she needed no direct alliance with 
art. From art, such as it then was, associated and bound up 
with the very spirit of Heathenism, Christianity could only 
shrink with horror ; and as it was well known what im- 
portant service, nay, what essential support Paganism had 
derived from it, so, in the struggle of the early Christians 
against the old idolatry, the art which had sustained it 
became equally the object of their aversion. The carvers of 
graven images were looked upon as the servants and emis- 
saries of Satan. Vfhoever carried on this hateful calling 
was declared unworthy of the cleansing waters of baptism ; 
whoever, when baptized, returned to his old vocation, was 
expelled from the community. 

There is no doubt that the circumstances of the times 
favoured these interdicts. The Gentile converts were at 



Part I. THE LATER ROMAN STYLE. 3 

first poor and obscure ; the Jewish converts, by law and long 
habit, were debarred most forms of art. As the Christian 
community advanced in power, and included more wealthy 
classes, the need for art, as well as its instincts, in the minds 
of a race surrounded with classic objects, gradually revived. 
And even before this happier period had arrived, in the 
times of oppression and neglect, the natural instinct had not 
been totally extinguished. The life and manners of Pa- 
ganism had been too closely interwoven with artistic forms 
for the followers of the new faith entirely to disengage 
themselves from them. Almost every utensil of common 
life had its established shape and its figurative ornament, 
bearing not only the charm of grace, but the impress of an 
allegorical meaning. Imperative, therefore, as it was to the 
early Christian to banish from his new life every object of 
his former idol worship, however exquisite in construction, 
it was not so absolutely necessary to renounce those which 
were innocent in purpose. But even in these instances all 
the allegorical designs with which they were enriched had 
been borrowed from the pagan mythology. The eagle and 
the thunderbolt, the symbols of power, were the attributes 
of Jove. The rod with the two serpents indicated com- 
merce, because Mercury was the God of traffic. The club, 
the emblem of strength, was originally the attribute of 
Hercules. The griffin, which appears so often in the deco- 
ration of antique objects, was sacred to Apollo. The symbol 
of the sphinx was taken from the fable of (Edipus. Thus 
allegorical representations could not be retained in the 
dwellings of Christians without reminding them of a mytho- 
logy which they repudiated. It was possible, however, to 
Substitute others which stood not only in no connection with 
the ancient idolatry, but, on the contrary, bespoke the 
owner's acquiescence in the new doctrine. The Oriental 
mode of teaching by means of parables with which the 
Bible abounds, supplied an abundance of subjects. Sym- 
bolical forms were taken directly from Scriptural illustra- 
tions : others were conceived in a similar spirit here and 
there some which bore no direct allusion to the old mytho- 
logy or admitted of a Christian transposition, were retained 

B 2 



4 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

in the antique form. Thus a numerous class of Christian 
symbols sprang up, which gave at once a higher character to 
those objects of common life to which they were applied, 
and became also a sign of recognition among the members of 
the new faith. 

As one of these signs of recognition and, it is supposed, 
in the gesture of crossing oneself still retained in the Eomish 
Church the form of the Cross is believed to have been used ; 
but the earliest monuments of Christian art give no evidence 
whatever of the representation of the symbol itself. Nor, if 
we consider the horror in which this instrument of punish- 
ment the " arbor infelix " was held by the pagan Roman, 
find, doubtless, by the Eoman converts, is there any cause 
for surprise at the absence of all indications of the cross in 
the simple form familiar to us in the first centuries of 
Christianity.* On the other hand, the monogram of Christ, a 
combination of the two first Greek letters of His name X 
represents the Ch, and P the E, generally in this form ^ 
abounds on sarcophagi, slabs, utensils, lamps, glasses, &c., 
from the earliest Christian times. 

In other instances the monogram appears in these shapes : 
)^ and % ; or even represented thus, jp ; and not seldom 
it is accompanied by the mystical apocalyptic letters A and 
II, thus A ^fi. 

1 1 has also been supposed that in the X the earliest Chris- 
tians sought secretly to exhibit the sign of the cross, but 
this idea belongs rather to the suggestions of a later period. 

Among the more properly artistic symbols the following 
may be selected as the principal : 

The Lamb or the emblem of Christ himself as the sacri- 
fice so named in many parts of the New Testament. This 
symbol is also employed to denote His disciples, of whom 
He speaks as the flock of which He is the Shepherd. The 
Vine in accordance with the Saviour's own words, who 

* Not till a century after the punishment by crucifixion had been 
abrogated when the interregnum of several generations had permitted 
the old and horrible associations to be merged in its present glorious mean- 
ing did the simple sign of the Cross appear upon Christian monuments. 
It is first seen in the middle of the fifth century, See ' History of Our 
Lord,' vol. ii. p. 317, 818. 



Part 1. THE LATER ROMAN STYLE. 5 

calls Himself the Vine, and His disciples the branches. 
The Fish the general symbol of the disciples, and also 
equally of Himself derived perhaps immediately from the 
lingering spirit of antique symbolism, in which the fish 
denotes the element of water, here understood as the bap- 
tismal water of life ; also in more direct allusion to the 
words of Christ, who appointed His disciples to be " fishers 
of men." The greatest importance, however, attached to 
this symbol consisted in a fanciful play of letters, the se- 
parate letters of the Greek word IXOY2 (Fish) being found 
to contain the initials of Christ, and of those words which 
betokened His Divine mission, 'I^crovs Xpioros eov Yios 
2(im)/3 (Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour). The Ship, 
indicating the Church, as typified by Noah's ark. The 
Anchor always in close connection with the foregoing ; 
often entwined with a fish, a dolphin, or accompanied by 
two fishes the emblem of fortitude, faith, and hope. The 
Dove, occasionally bearing the olive branch, the symbol of 
Christian meekness and charity, also of the Holy Ghost. 
The Pho3nix and the Peacock, symbols of eternity. The 
Cock, of watchfulness. The Lyre, of the worship of God. 
The Palm-branch, the heathen symbol of victory, but, in 
a Christian sense, as growing afresh from its root, that only 
of the victory over death. Later signs were the Sheaf, the 
Bunch of Grapes, &c. &c., with other Biblical types and 
allusions, such as the Hart at the Brook, the Brazen Serpent, 
the Ark of the Covenant, the Seven-branched Candlestick, 
and the Serpent in the Garden of Eden ; and, finally, the 
Cross itself, in various combinations with other symbolical 
signs with flowers with a crown on the summit of a hill 
with the Dove hovering about it, or entwined in a garland. 
A rich collection of these symbols will be found in tho 
spandrils of the arches in S. Apollinare in Glasse near 
Ravenna. 

It was natural also that early piety should seek some 
more direct representation of the person of the Eedeemer, 
though still under a symbolical figure. The words of 
Christ himself soon pointed out a proper choice of subject. 
He had said, "I am the Good Shepherd." He had told 



6 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

His disciples of the shepherd who went into the wilderness 
to seek the lost sheep, and when he had found it, carried 
it home rejoicing upon his shoulders. He it was whom the 
Prophets had announced under this figure. Christ was, 
therefore, portrayed as the Good Shepherd, and innumerable 
are the specimens of the early Christian works of art, of 
every form, including even statues, in which we find Him 
thus represented. Sometimes He appears in the midst of His 
flock, alone or with companions, caressing a sheep, or with 
a shepherd's pipe in His hand, sometimes sorrowing for the 
lost sheep, and again bearing the recovered one upon His 
shoulders. This last mode of representation is the most 
frequent, and even so early as Tertullian's time (second 
century), was generally adopted for the glass chalices used 
in the sacrament and love-feasts. The Saviour is usually 
represented as a youth, occasionally as a bearded man, in 
simple succinct drapery ; often with the short mantle of the 
shepherd hanging over the shoulder. A graceful idyllic 
character pervades these designs which, under one aspect, 
were familiar to the Heathen. For Mercury, attired as a 
shepherd with a ram on his shoulders, was no unfrequent 
object in mythology, and in some instances has led to a 
confusion between the antique and Christian representation. 
By the type of the Good Shepherd also a further idea, that 
of pastoral life, was suggested, as in a similar scene the 
introduction of naked infants, or genii, among the foliage 
and fruits of the vine, suggested the scenes of the vintage. 
The companion also to the Good Shepherd, namely, Christ 
as the fisherman, sometimes occurs. As umpire also in the 
popular games (Agonothetes) the Saviour is allegorically 
depicted, but this not often. 

A rare and at first sight strange emblem, which can 
only be interpreted as an allusion to the Saviour, is that 
of Orpheus captivating the wild beasts of the forest by the 
sound of his lyre. This adoption of one of the personages 
of pagan mythology as a fitting object for Christian con- 
templation may be accounted for equally by the high respect 
in which the purer Orphean precepts were held by the 
Fathers of the Christian Church, and by the analogy which 



Part I. THE LATER ROMAN STYLE. 



was supposed to exist between the fable of Orpheus and the 
history of Christ, especially as seen in the taming influence 
of Christianity over the hearts of heathens and savages. In 
such examples, Orpheus is represented in the Phrygian 
costume, in which later antique art always clothed him, 
seated with his lyre among trees, and surrounded with 
animals ; so far, therefore, a certain affinity may be traced 
between this emblem and that of the Good Shepherd. 
Meanwhile, if, on the one hand, so daring a representation of 
the Saviour soon vanished before the further progress of the 
Christian Church, it may be observed, on the other, that 
many modes of expression of a more innocent kind be-' 
longing to ancient art, however closely associated with the 
ancient idolatry, long maintained their position. The most 
remarkable of this kind are those personifications of Nature 
under the human form which the materialism of the ancients 
had led them to adopt. Even to a late period of the middle 
ages a river is occasionally represented by a river-god, a 
mountain by a mountain-god, a city by a goddess with a 
mural crown, Night by a female figure with a torch and 
a star-bespangled robe, Heaven by a male figure throwing 
a veil in an arched form above his head. Many of these 
symbols may even be traced down as far as the thirteenth 
century. Other heathen forms, such, for example, as those 
of naked boys or genii, which had been employed by later 
pagan art only for purposes of decoration, continue at least 
to the fifth century, and even the later fable of Cupid and 
Psyche occurs upon Christian sarcophagi. 

Meanwhile, by those interpretations of Scripture of 
which our Lord Himself gave the example, the events of the 
Gospels were clad under such scenes from the Old Testa- 
ment as are declared to have prefigured them. Accord- 
ingly, where we see Abraham in the act of sacrificing 
Isaac, we are reminded that God " so loved the world that 
He gave His only begotten Son for it;" where we find 
Moses striking the rock, with kneeling figures drinking the 
waters, we understand the miraculous birth of Christ, who, 
according to the Prophet Isaiah, is " the well of salvation," 
from which " we draw waters with joy," " the spiritual rock 



EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book 1. 



from which we drink." Or if the subject be Job afflicted 
with a sore disease, and surrounded with his friends, who 
show by their actions their horror at his state, we recognise 
the deep humiliation of the Saviour, who was, " despised and 
rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with 
grief: and we hid, as it were, our faces from him," &c. 
Again, Daniel, in the lions' den, is Christ, who passed 
through the valley of the shadow of death His arms, 
according to early Christian representation, outstretched in 
prayer. Elijah, also, mounting towards Heaven in a chariot, 
typifies the Ascension, and so on. We likewise frequently 
meet with the delineation of Jonah, as he is thrown into the 
sea, with the whale waiting to swallow him, and then again, as 
he is cast from the fish's jaws on to dry land this being the 
favourite and most intelligible type of the death and resur- 
rection of Christ. Gradually, the corresponding subject 
from the New Testament was added to that from the Old 
upon sarcophagi, for example but it was the art of the 
middle ages which first placed the two side by side. 

The first images of Christ of which we read were not 
in the abodes of believers, but in those of heretics and 
heathens for example, in the chapel of the Emperor 
Alexander Scverus (about A. D. 230), where a figure of the 
Saviour, though here rather to be considered as an ideal 
representation than as a portrait,* stood next those of 
Apollonius of Tyana, of the patriarch Abraham, and of 
Orpheus. Even Eusebius of Ccsarea refuses, on positive 
religious grounds, to procure for the sister of Constantino 
the Great a picture of Christ ; and no less than a century 
later, S. Augustin declares that as regards the personal 
appearance of the Saviour nothing was known. Neverthe- 
less, the temptation to counterfeit a likeness of the Saviour 
was so great, that, in defiance of all theological scruples, the 
so-called portraits of Christ became common. The origin of 
them being alternately ascribed to a picture by Jesus 

* A very aucient, but much restored mosaic, in the Museo Cristinno 
in the Vatican, belonging possibly to the third century, gives us some idea 
of the style of physiognomy which the heathens attributed to Christ. It 
is a bearded head in profile, agreeing pretty much with the type of coun- 
tenance given to the philosophers at that period. 



Part I. THE LATER ROHAN STYLE. 9 

himself, or by Pontius Pilate, or by S. Luke, or (according 
to later views) by Nicodemus ; or, as founded upon some 
manifestly counterfeit, but still early manuscripts ; such, for 
example, as the letter of Lentulus to the Roman Senate, not 
mentioned in any record earlier than the eleventh century,* 
though believed to have been fabricated in the third century. 
In this letter by Lentulus, who (though contrary to history) 
has been called the predecessor to Pontius Pilate in the 
government of Palestine, Christ is described as " A man of 
lofty stature, of serious and imposing countenance, inspiring 
love as well as fear in those who behold him. His hair is 
the colour of wine (meaning probably of a dark colour), 
straight, and without lustre as low as the ears, but thence 
glossy and curly, flowing upon the shoulders, and divided 
down the centre of the head, after the manner of the 
Nazarenes. The forehead is smooth and serene, the face 
without blemish, of a pleasant, slightly ruddy colour. The 
expression noble and engaging. Nose and mouth of perfect 
form ; the beard abundant, and of the same colour as the 
hair, parted in the middle. The eyes blue and brilliant. 
He is the most beautiful among the children of men."f 

Of similar character is the description given, about the 
middle of the eighth century, by John of Damascus, taken, 
as he avers, from ancient writers. " Jesus," he says, " was 
of stately height, with eyebrows that met together ; beautiful 
eyes, regular nose, the hair of His head somewhat curling, 
and of a beautiful colour, with black beard, and corn-yellow 
complexion like His mother (on which circumstance the 
greatest stress is laid), with long fingers," &c. Later 
descriptions are more embellished, and evidently follow, in 
some particulars, that type of the Saviour's countenance 
which painters had meanwhile adopted J 

Miraculous portraits, or as the expression was, " pictures 
of Christ, not made with hands," declared to have been im- 
printed upon His winding sheet, to have been impressed by 

* In the writings of Anselmus, Archbishop of Canterbury. 

t See Didron, ' Histoire de Dieu,' p. 229. 

J It was not till the middle ages that the legend of S. Veronica's hand- 
kerchief first arose, on which the suffering Redeemer was supposed to have 
left the impression of His face. 



10 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I 

Himself upon His robe, to have been left on the cloth with 
which He wiped His face, and which He gave to St. Thomas 
(all of which legends long preceded both the first and second 
story of St. Veronica) ; miraculous portraits, we repeat, so 
abounded, that in a general council held at Constantinople in 
the eighth century, it was found necessary to condemn them. 
What class of countenance may have been thus exhibited is 
unknown, but it is certain that a belief in a particular 
type of our Lord's features, transmitted from an early 
time, is not corroborated by early works of art. Christ 
is seen under a form of ideal youthfulness, performing 
miracles, or, as a bearded man enthroned upon a symbolical 
figure of heaven, or standing on an eminence from which 
flow the four rivers of Paradise ; but in either case the 
patriarchs or apostles who accompany Him have generally 
precisely the same type of feature as Himself. The only 
feature most commonly seen in representations of our Lord, 
and those by no means the earliest, is the hair divided down 
the centre and the forked beard, though numerous examples 
might be cited where both these signs equally fail, or are 
common to the attendant figures. It has been usual to point 
to two heads in the Eoman Catacombs, as the types of our 
Lord adopted by the early Christians ; but the one bears no 
sign of having been intended for Him, and the other (identified 
by the cruciform nimbus) is of the common and morose 
type which long prevailed in Byzantine works. 

The Catacombs* of Borne are all of them outside the city, 
and most of them within a short distance of the city gates ; 
as the head-quarters of early Christian monumental art, they 
are the most interesting, though in some respects still the 
perplexing materials for the student of Christian archaeology. 
They were excavated originally for the resting places of the 
Eoman Christian dead, and present labyrinths of passages, 
hewn in the soft pozzolano earth, which are reckoned to have 
contained several millions of silent inmates. The practice 
of burying the dead originated with the Jews, and Catacombs 
of a similar kind to those at Eome and Naples, but identified 

* See a graphic description by Einkel, ' Geschichte der bildenden 
Kunste,' vol. i. p. 180. 



Part I. THE LATER ROMAN STYLE. H 

by inscriptions, and by the frequent representations of the 
seven-branched candlestick, to be the depositories of the 
Hebrew people, have been discovered in the old Kingdom 
of the two Sicilies where the Jews are known to have settled.* 
The Eoman Catacombs are believed to have been used for 
purposes of interment up to the seventh century. The com- 
mencement of this practice is wrapt in obscurity ; but dated- 
inscriptions (on slabs) of the fourth century are numerous, 
and these dates extend at intervals, and with much rarer 
occurrence into the seventh century.f The walls of these 
passages, which are stated to ramify in the different Cata- 
combs to the extent of several hundred miles round and 
under Rome, are literally honeycombed on each side along 
their whole length, with a series of recesses, one above the 
other from floor to ceiling, like the berths in a ship, each 
appropriated to one occupant. These recesses were origi- 
nally securely closed by a tile, or marble slab, inscribed 
some of them with epitaph and name, more of them not 
inscribed at all. With the rarest exceptions, every one of 
these resting places have been rifled, and such inscribed 
slabs as have not perished are found scattered in Roman and 
other museums. Many of the Catacomb passages expand at 
intervals into larger spaces, like very small chambers, called 
cubicula, having graves in three sides, and evidently betoken- 
ing the burial place of a family of distinction. These spaces 
have been painted on walls and ceilings with slight and 
coarsely-executed frescoes, of the same class of decorations 
as are seen in Pompeii, and also with the Christian types we 
have described. Numerous white marble sarcophagi, deco- 
rated with bas-reliefs of the same import as the mural paint- 
ings, and repeated over and over again in varying grades of 
inferiority, have been found in the Catacombs, and now 
survive in churches and museums in Italy, and in the south 
of France. The Catacombs in the lapse of centuries have 
evidently from time to time fallen into oblivion, and have 



* At Venosa, an ancient episcopal seat, and at Oria and Lavello, both 
near the western frontier of the Basilicata. 

f S. Jerome visited these vaults in the latter part of the fourth century, 
and our English Evelyn did the same in 1645. 



12 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book 1. 

been re-discovered. Towards the close of the sixteenth cen- 
tury a Eomish priest, a Maltese by birth, by name Antonio 
Bosio, re-opened and thoroughly explored the wonders of 
this underground world. To his indefatigable labours we 
are indebted for engravings of the most remarkable paintings 
and objects, which in point of accuracy leave nothing to 
desire. Nor is his learned text lightly to be discarded, 
though much that he and other partisans of Rome have 
written on the interpretation of the inscriptions, implements, 
utensils, &c., discovered, as well as on the art of the Cata- 
combs, has been too zealously directed to square with the 
modern usages of the Eomish Church to be of any value to 
the archaeologist or historian. The fact is, that the evidence 
thus laid up in the Catacombs tends to entirely opposite 
conclusions. For the clearest refutation of Eomish practice 
and doctrine may be said to be proclaimed, as with the voice 
of a trumpet, from these ancient walls and graves. They 
contain no allusion to the worship of saints, or to purgatory. 
St. Peter appears in no way distinguished from other holy 
personages of entirely forgotten note, or when accompanied 
by St. Paul, is on the same level with him. Inscriptions 
prove that the popes were only bishops that priests had wives. 
Allusions are found to only two sacraments. The Virgin 
appears but once in a later period, and that in a strictly 
historical sense, without diadem or glory, simply holding the 
Child on her knees as the three wise men (not kings) ap- 
proach, their number being here for the first time established. 
The whole structure of martyrology raised on the evidence 
of the Catacombs falls to the ground ; the palm-branch was 
a symbol common to Pagan and Christian ; the bottles as- 
sumed to contain blood are the same vessels usually found in 
pagan graves, and continued doubtless by habit and lingering 
superstition in those of Christians ; the implements of tor- 
ture are the tools of the artisan ; the supposed figure of the 
Virgin is simply the effigy of some departed woman, standing 
with hands uplifted in prayer (those of men are also given 
in the same attitude), this posture being a pagan usage.* In 

* /Eneas, when in danger of shipwreck, thus prayed to the gods: 
" Duplices tendons ad sidera palmas." 




CEILING IN CATACOMB OF S. CALISTO. HOME 



p 13. 



Part I. THE LATER ROMAN STYLE. 13 

short, for it is needless to multiply instances, the whole 
evidence of this underground city is simply what might have 
been expected ; equally proving the naturally lingering pagan 
habits on the one hand, and on the other, doctrines of Chris- 
tianity as far removed as possible from those later enunciated 
in the great city above. Indeed it is probable that in the 
progress of accurate archaeological knowledge, pagan habits, 
far from having been shunned by the mass cf early humble 
Christians, will be found more and more to offer the solution 
of many a Catacomb puzzle. 

Most of the Eoman Catacombs are now wisely closed, their 
insecure state necessitating these measures of precaution, 
while in those still open, the wall paintings are fast perish- 
ing under the joint influence of air, and the smoke of 
torches. 

The most interesting of these paintings, which, judged by 
the internal evidence of their art and their subject, extend 
even to the eleventh century, were found in the Catacombs of 
S. Calisto, on the Via Appia, beneath the church of S. Sebas- 
tiano ; others of less importance in those of S. Saturnine, 
S. Priscilla, S. Ponziano, S. Marcellino, S. Lorenzo, &c. 
Among those latest executed appears one instance of a cruci- 
fixion, and that by no means the earliest instance of that 
subject.* This exists in the Catacomb, so called, of Pope 
Julius on the Via Flaminia.f 

In order to give the reader an idea of the subjects and 
their arrangement of the art of the Catacombs, we subjoin a 
woodcut of one of the ceilings in the Catacomb of S. Calisto.J 
This contains those events from the Old Testament, which 
illustrate the evangelical ideas of regeneration of life, and 
resurrection from the dead, and also the power of Christ to 
feed the hungry, heal the sick, and raise the dead, all centring 
in His figure as the Good Shepherd carrying His sheep. 

* By a larger and closer system of observation it is now known that 
certain actions and attributes such, for instance, as the act of benediction, 
the attribute of the nimbus, or the keys of St. Peter have their approx- 
imate periods of introduction, General dates may thus be arrived at 
which, in the absence of inscriptions or documents, assist to guide the 
student of early Christian art. 

t See engraving in ' Roma Sotteranea,' vol. ii. p. 354. 

* Bottari. vol. ii. tab. cxviii., Catacomb of SS. Marcellinus and Peter. 



14 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

Five of the subjects are from the Old Testament, three from 
the New ; as follows : 

Noah in the ark, with arms extended, welcoming the 
dove ; the ark being a mere box floating in a boat. 

Moses striking the rock. 

Jonah ejected by the whale. 

Jonah swallowed by the whale. 

Daniel between the lions. 

Christ restoring Lazarus to life. 

The miracle of the loaves. 

The lame man made whole and taking up his bed. 

The birds and fruits in the inner circle have been inter- 
preted as the human soul feeding on fruits of Paradise ; but 
are too identical with antique ornamentation to be strictly 
taken in such a sense. 

Our next plate shows two walls in a cubiculum in S. 
Calisto. On the one hand, above, is seen Job seated; in 
the centre again, Daniel between the lions; and Moses 
unbinding his sandals.* Below is a woman in attitude 
of prayer, next her Noah, welcoming the dove, and Christ 
raising Lazarus ; underneath Moses we see Elijah taken up 
to heaven, dropping his mantle to Elisha ; the other figure 
is probably one of the yoiiths. 

Another painting in the Catacombs of S. Calisto deserves 
mention for its antique style of beauty. Within and above 
the arch of one of the recesses are seen eleven little genii, 
encircled with vine tendrils, eagerly occupied in the labours 
of the vintage. In the recess itself appears a figure, inter- 
preted as Christ, with a scroll in his left hand, turning with 
the air of a teacher towards a number of hearers. Here, 

* In illuminated MS. Bibles, and the Biblia Pauperum, the subject of 
Moses and the Burning Bush generally accompanies that of the Nativity 
(in some instances the Annunciation) and alludes to the mystery of the 
Incarnation. The inscriptions which sometimes accompany these repre- 
sentations explain the connection, such as it is, of type and anti-type. 
Thus, under the subject of the Burning Bush, we read, " Lucet et ignescit, 
sed non rubus igne calescit :" under the Nativity, " Absque dolore pans 
Virgo Maria maris." The subject of Aaron's rod bearing flowers is occa- 
sionally added, with the Hue "Hie contra morem producit virgula florem." 
The subject of the Nativity is surmounted by that of Moses and the 
Burning Bush in one of the windows in King's College Chapel at Cambridge. 
C. L. E. [These initials are here appended to all the notes originally by 
Sir C. L. Easthtke.] 




Paintings on wall, left of entrance, of a chamber in the Catacomb of S. Calixtus, 
representing DANIEL. JOB. and MOSES. 




Paintings on wall of a chamber, right of entrance, in the Catacomb of S. Calisto, representing 
ELIJAH , a rigure in the attitude of Prayer, NOAH IN THE ARE, and 

THE EAIS1NG OF LAZARDS. p. 14. No. 1. 




oi T: 

a ^ 



3 5 

I * 
u 

tn 



Part I. THE LATER ROMAN STYLE. 15 

also, in these Catacombs, may be occasionally traced the 
habits of the early Christians. We see them assembled for 
their love-feasts (though these particular representations are 
of very uncertain meaning), celebrating baptisms and mar- 
riages, and congregating together for the purposes of instruc- 
tion. As the Catacombs, for many centuries after Constantine 
the Great, remained open to the public as places of venera- 
tion, and as such continued to be decorated in the taste of 
the day, it follows that the paintings in them extend to much 
later periods ; but possessing, as we do, far more valuable 
specimens of those periods, we have limited our notice here 
to those of the earliest times under the Empire. 

The Catacombs of Naples are upon a more extensive plan 
than those of Eome. They contain, however, fewer specimens 
of the early Christian school, which, though markedly rude 
in -execution, yet, by a stricter drawing and greater body of 
colour, appear still to maintain a relation with ancient art. 

Thus it was, therefore, to sum up the foregoing remarks in 
a few words, that the genius of ancient art succeeded in 
infusing itself into the forms of Christianity. And it is 
highly important to observe how the system of early 
Christian symbolism, by the deeper meaning which it sug- 
gests to the mind of the spectator, unites itself to the spirit 
of the later Pagan art, in which the subjects of ancient fable, 
considered as emblems, were merely vehicles for a general 
idea. Much, therefore, as the higher feeling for power, 
richness, and beauty of form, as such, had departed from art 
in the later period of the Empire much as the outward 
expression of art at that time, like the forms of government 
und habits of life, appears for the most part only fit to 
be likened to a broken vessel or a cast-off garment yet, in the 
formal simplicity of these Catacomb paintings, in the peaceful 
earnestness of their forms, in their simple expression of a 
spiritual meaning, to the exclusion of any other aim, we 
recognise a spirit which contrasts refreshingly with the 
affectation of later pagan works. 

As regards the state of art under Constantine the Great, 
there are many works which give us a far higher idea of its 
technical processes and resources than we should be inclined 



16 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

to infer from the clumsy and ugly sculpture upon the probably 
hastily-erected Arch of Constantine. Great as was the deteri- 
oration of ancient art, there still remained too much vigour in 
its tradition of many centuries not to conceal here and there 
the reality of its decline. It is true the old laws which regu- 
lated the drawing of the human figure had already been much 
neglected. The heads and extremities upon the sculptured 
sarcophagi are too large. In painting, on the other hand, the 
proportions are too long. The positions and motives* in both 
too conventional. The marking of the joints is defective 
the drapery, though here and there finely felt, is weak in 
execution nevertheless we are sometimes agreeably sur- 
prised by a spiritedly conceived figure. In point of decora- 
tion, too, we observe for a length of time a certain grace, 
though no actual beauty ; while in neatness of execution, for 
example in the ivory Diptychs, nothing better is to be found 
in similar works even of the best period. Further, it must 
be borne in mind that, as compared with the gigantic works 
of Constantine's time, described by Eusebius and Anastasius, 
such relics as have descended to us can only be regarded as 
very inadequate specimens ; for we may take it as a rule that 
the Catacomb pictures of that time belong, without exception, 
to the more unimportant class of works. To form, as far as 
possible, a just conception of this epoch of art, we shall, in 
the course of the ensuing pages, especially call the attention 

* [This word, familiar as it is in the technical phraseology of other lan- 
guages, is not yet generally adopted in our own, and hence some apology 
may be necessary for employing it as above. It may often be rendered 
intention, but has a fuller meaning. In its ordinary application, and as 
generally used by the author, it means the principle of action, attitude, 
and composition in a single figure or group ; thus it has been observed, 
that in some antique gems which are defective in execution, the motives 
are frequently fine. Such qualities in this case may have been the result 
of the artist's feeling, but in servile copies like those of the Byzantine 
artists the motives could only belong to the original inventor. In its more 
extended signification the term comprehends invention generally, as dis- 
tinguished from execution. Another very different and less general sense 
in which this expression is also used, must not be confounded with the 
foregoing ; thus a motive is sometimes understood in the sense of a sugges- 
tion. It is said, for example, that Poussin found the motives of his land- 
scape compositions at Tivoli. In this case we have a suggestion improved 
and carried out ; in the copies of the Byzantine artists we have intentions 
not their own, blindly transmitted. C. JL. K.] 



Parl I. THE LATER ROMAN STYLE. 17 

of the reader to such works as, however late in their own 
date, may be with probability considered as repetitions or 
imitations of the productions of the fourth century. 

With the general recognition of Christianity as the religion 
of the state, followed also the introduction of painting into 
the vast Basilicas and other churches of the new faith, where 
walls, cupolas, and altars were soon decorated with the utmost 
splendour. Not content, also, with the rich treasury of Scrip- 
tural subjects, Christian art sought her materials in the wide 
circle of saintly history, nor hesitated even to avail herself of 
the persons of distinguished living characters. Circum- 
stantial inscriptions, ornamentally disposed, were now adopted 
to explain the meaning of the picture, and in smaller churches 
were eventually substituted for them.* 

The technical processes in vogue at Byzantium at the time 
when the city assumed its present name consisted at first and 
elsewhere in such as had hitherto been used for wall 
paintings namely, in tempera f and encaustic. During the 
fourth century, however, mosaic, which had hitherto been 
restricted more particularly to pavements, began to be pre- 
ferred for churches and even for palaces a circumstance to 
which we are exclusively indebted for the preservation of a 
number of early Christian subjects of the first class. 

Mosaic-work, or the placing together of small cubes of 
stone, terra-cotta, and, later, of vitrified substances of various 
colours, for decorations and figures, on the principles of 
ordinary painting, was an invention of the sumptuous Alex- 
andrian age, diiring which a prodigality of form and material 
began to corrupt the simplicity of Grecian art. According 
to general tradition, the application of mosaic as an ornament 
for pavements commenced in the close imitation of inanimate 
objects, such as broken food and scattered articles, lying 
apparently upon the floor thence proceeded in rapid progress 
to large historical compositions, and, under the first emperors, 

* See the important letter by Paulinus de -Nola, in Augusti's ' BeitrUge 
zur Christlichen Kunstgeschiehte,' 1841, p. 147. The same occurred iu 
palaces: see 'Chron. Salernitauum,' chap. 37 (Pertz. Mouum.), upon the 
inscriptions of Paulus Diaconus in the palace at Salerno. 

t A more or less glutinous medium, soluble, at first, in water, with 
which the colours were applied. C. L. E. 



18 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

attained the highest technical development and refinement. 
It was subsequent to this that it first came into use as a deco- 
ration for walls.* Under the protection of the Roman dominion 
this peculiar art spread itself over the ancient world, and was 
executed in the same manner upon the Euphrates, on Mount 
Atlas, and in Britain. The inherent defect of such pictures, 
the impossibility, namely, from the almost mechanical manner 
in which they were wrought from the cartoon, of imparting 
to them any immediate expression of feeling, appears, con- 
sistently with the Roman love of solidity, to have been fully 
counterbalanced by their durability. The essential conditions 
of this branch of art its restriction, as far as possible, to 
large and simple forms. its renunciation of rich and crowded 
compositions, and its indispensable requisite of general dis- 
tinctness have exercised, since the time of Constantine, an 
important influence over the whole province of art. 

It must be remembered, however, that the style to which 
the materials and practice of this art necessarily and gradually 
tended, may by no means be considered to have attained its 
highest perfection at the period of its first application to the 
walls and arches of Christian churches. The earliest, and 

* We own that the middle links between the small cabinet pieces in 
mosaic, which the relics of Pompeii and imperial Rome have preserved to 
us, and the suddenly commencing wall-mosaics of Christian origin, are as 
yet wanting. The temples, baths, and palaces of the later emperors con- 
tain innumerable wall-paintings, stuccos, and mosaic pavements, but, as 
far as we know, no mosaic-work on ceilings or walls. Pliny, it is true, 
distinctly tells us (xxxvi. 64) that mosaic-work, proceeding, as it were, 
upwards from the pavements, had recently taken possession of the arches 
above them, and had, since then, been made of vitrified substances ; also 
that mosaic work had been made capable of expressing every colour, and 
that these materials were as applicable for the purposes of painting as any 
other. But the few existing specimens, exceeding the limits of the pave- 
ment and the small wall-picture (namely, the four pillars and the two 
mosaic fountains from Pompeii, and a monument of the Vigna Campana in 
Rome, &c.) are of a purely decorative style, without figures ; while it is 
very strange that, neither upon the arches of Diocletian's baths, nor upon 
those of any other edifices of this period, have any traces of a higher class 
of painting in a material thus durable been discovered. We are almost 
tempted to believe that historical mosaic painting of the grander style first 
started into life in the course of the fourth century, and suddenly took its 
wide spread. It must be remembered that Anastasius, in hi; Life of 
S. Sylvester, where he describes the splendid ecclesiastical buildings erected 
by Constantine, and numbers their scarcely credible amount of objects of 
decoration, is entirely silent on the subject of mosaics. Certainly, he pays 
them, elsewhere, no grer.t attention. 



Part I. THE LATER ROMAN STYLE. 19 



the only Christian mosaics of the fourth century with which we 
are acquainted those on the waggon-roof of the ambulatory 
of S. Costanza, near Rome * belong essentially to the decora- 
tive schools of ancient art, while their little genii, among 
vine-tendrils, on a white ground, stand on a parallel line of 
art with similar subjects in the Catacombs of S. Calistof of 
which we have given a specimen. In the fifth century, also, his- 
torical mosaic painting attempted paths of development which 
it soon after and for ever renounced. Considered apart from 
those, at first frequent, early Christian symbols and Biblical 
allegories, which subsequently declined, this style of art es- 
sayed its powers also in the line of animated historical compo- 
sition, and it was only by degrees that the range of its subjects 
became so narrowed as to comprehend only those where the 
arrangement was in the strictest symmetry, and the mode of con- 
ception, as regards single figures, of a tranquil statuesque cha- 
racter. But as our power of judgment here depends especially 
upon a knowledge of the transitions of style, we shall proceed 
chronologically, and point out the changes of subject as they 
occur. Fortunately for us, the dates of these changes are for 
the most part accurately defined. Here, however, as in the 
later times of heathen art, only very few artists' names appear 
a circumstance consistent with the moral condition of the 
world of art at that time. For it may be assumed that where, 
as in this case, the mind of the patron is chiefly intent upon a 
display of luxury and a prodigality of decoration, the fame of 
the workman is sure to be obscured by the splendour of 
material execution. At the same time that artist who, in a 
period like the fourth and fifth centuries, could establish 
such a type of Christ as we shall have occasion to comment 
on in the church of SS. Cosmo and Damiano, well deserves 
to have had his name transmitted to posterity. 

* Either built under Constantino as a baptistery for the neighbouring 
church of S. Agnes, or, soon after him, as a monumental chapel to his two 
daughters (see Platner). The supposition of its being a temple of Bacchus, 
which the subjects of the mosaics had suggested, is now given up. 

t If we may venture to form a general conclusion from so isolated 
n specimen, we should say that this almost exclusively ornamental mosaic 
at S. Costanza argues the probability that those earlier Koman ceiling 
mosaics, of which Pliny speaks, were, for the greater part, only of a 
decorative kind. 

c2 



20 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

The most numerous and valuable mosaics of the fifth and 
following centuries are found in the churches of Eome and 
Ravenna.* The Bishopric of Eome, enriched beyond all 
others by the munificence of its emperors and the piety of 
private individuals, erected itself, more and more, into the 
principal seat of the hierarchy, while Ravenna, on the other 
hand, became successively the residence of the last members 
of the imperial Theodosian house, of several of the Ostrogoth 
sovereigns, and finally that of an orthodox Archbishop, whose 
power and dignity for a long time hardly yielded to that of 
the Papacy. Here it was that painting again united itself 
closely with architecture, and submitted to be guided by the 
latter not only in external arrangement, but in great measure 
also in direction of thought. In the generally circular or 
polygonal Baptisteries, the decoration of which was chiefly 
confined to the cupola, it was natural that the centre subject 
should represent the Baptism of Christ, round which the 
figures of the Apostles formed an outward circle. In the 
few larger churches, with cupolas and circular galleries, 
scarcely any traces of mosaics have been preserved, though we 
have reason to conclude that in their original state the 
decorations in this line of art exhibited peculiar beauties of 
conception and arrangement. In this we are supported by 
the character of the mosaics in the existing, and in some 
measure still perfect, Basilicas. This form of church-building 
had generally obtained in the East. It consisted in a prin- 
cipal oblong space, of three or five aisles, divided by rows of 
columns the centre aisle loftier than the others, and ter- 
minating in one or three semi-domed tribunes or apsides, 
before which, in some instances, a transept was introduced. 
A gradation of surfaces was thus offered to the decorative 
painter, which, according to their relation with, or local vici- 
nity to, the altar (always in front of the centre apsis), afforded 

* A complete collection also of these specimens, which have subsequently 
disappeared, occurs in Ciampini's ' Vetera Monumenta in quibus praccipue 
Musiva Opera illustrantur,' Roma, 1747. (The illustrations unfortunately 
are so incorrect, that no conclusion can be formed as to style.) See also 
J. G. Mtiller, ' Die bildlichen Darstellungen in Sanctuarium der Christliche 
Kirchen, vom 5ten bis 14ten Jahrh.' Trier, 1835; and v. Quast, 'Die alt 
Christl. Bauwerke von Ravenna,' Berlin, 1842 ; also the ' Mosaics of Rome,' 
by the late Dr. E. Bi-aun. 



Part I. THE LATER ROMAN STYLE. 21 

an appropriate field for the following frequently recurring 
order of decoration. 

The chief apsis behind the altar, as the most sacred portion 
of the building, was almost invariably reserved for the colossal 
figure of the standing or enthroned Saviour, with the Apostles 
or the patron saints and founders of the church on either hand 
in later times the Virgin was introduced next to Christ, or 
even in His stead. Above the chief figure appears generally 
a hand extended from the clouds, and holding a crown 
an emblem of the Almighty power of the Father, whose 
representation in human form was then not tolerated. Under- 
neath, in a narrow division, may be seen the Agnus Dei 
with twelve sheep, which are advancing on both sides from 
the gates of Jerusalem and Bethlehem a symbol of the 
twelve disciples, or of the Faithful generally. Above, and 
on each side of the arch which terminates the apsis, usually 
appear various subjects from the Apocalypse, referring to 
the Advent of our Lord. In the centre generally the Lamb, 
or the book with the seven seals upon the throne ; next to it 
the symbols of the Evangelists, the seven Candlesticks, and 
the four-and-twenty Elders, their arms outstretched in adora- 
tion towards the Lamb. In the larger Basilicas where a 
transept is introduced before the apsis it is divided from the 
nave by a large arch, called the Arch of Triumph. In this 
case the subjects from the Apocalypse were usually intro- 
duced upon this arch. In addition to this, the clerestory of 
the centre aisle and the spandrils of the arches over the 
columns were seldom left, in the larger and more splendid 
Basilicas, without decoration so few specimens, however, 
have been preserved, that it is not easy to arrive at any 
general conclusion, though we have reason to believe that the 
decorations consisted simply of a series of Biblical scenes ; 
of a double procession of saints and martyrs ; in later ages of 
a set of portrait-heads of the popes ; and in the spandrils of a 
variety of early Christian symbols. Of those representations 
of the Passion of our Lord, which, in the middle ages, occupied 
the high altar, no trace has yet been found ; the idea of the 
Godhead of Christ having for ages taken precedence of that 
of His earthly career. For it lay in the very nature of 



22 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

an art derived from Pagan sources not to dwell on His 
human sufferings, but rather upon His almighty power. To 
which may be ascribed the fact that no representation of the 
Passion or crucifixion is traceable before the eighth century. 
The earliest mosaics of the fifth century with which we 
are acquainted, namely, the internal decorations of the 
baptistery of the cathedral at Ravenna, are, in respect of 
figures as well as ornament, among the most remarkable of 
their kind. The building is of an octagon form, surmounted 
by a cupola. A double row of arches occupies the walls : in 
the spandrils of the lower arches, between splendid gold 
arabesques on a blue ground, are seen the figures of the 
eight prophets, which, in general conception, especially in 
the motives of the draperies, are in no way distinguishable 
from the later antique works. Though the execution is 
light and bold, the chiaroscuro is throughout tolerably 
complete. In the upper tier of arches, between rich archi- 
tectural decorations, a series of stucco reliefs occupy the 
place of the mosaics. The subjects of these are male and 
female saints, with rams, peacocks, sea-horses, stags, and 
griffins above ; chiefly white upon a red-yellow or grey 
ground. At the base of the cupola is a rich circle of mosaics 
consisting of four altars, with the four open books of the 
Gospel, four thrones with crosses, eight Episcopal Sedilia 
beneath eonch-niches, and eight elegant tombs surmounted 
with garlands. All these subjects are divided symmetrically, 
and set in a framework of architecture of beautiful and 
almost Pompeian character. Within this circle appear the 
chief representations the twelve Apostles, colossal in size ; 
and in the centre, as a circular picture, the Baptism of 
Christ. The Apostles stand upon a green base, representing 
the earth, with a blue background, under a white gold- 
decorated drapery which embraces the whole circle of the 
cupola, and is divided into compartments by gold acanthus 
plants. The robes of the Apostles are of gold stuff; and as 
they step along in easy, dignified measure, bearing crowns in 
their hands, they form a striking contrast to the stiff immo- 
bility of later mosaics. The heads, like most of those in the 
Catacomb pictures, are somewhat small, and, at the same 



Part I. THE LATER ROMAN STYLE. 23 



time, by no means youthfully ideal or abstract, but rather 
livingly individual, and even of that late Roman character 
of ugliness so observable in the portraits of the time. 
In spite of their walking action, the heads are not given in 
profile, but in front, which, in a work otherwise of such 
excellence, is decidedly not ascribable to any inability of 
drawing on the part of the artist, but to the desire of giving 
the spectator as much as possible of the holy countenances. 
In default of a definite type for the Apostles the first 
traces of which can at most be discerned in the figure of 
St. Peter -who appears with grey hair, though not as yet 
with a bald head they are distinguished by inscriptions. 
Especially fine in conception and execution are the draperies, 
which, in their gentle flow and grandeur of massing, recall 
the best Roman works. As in the antique representations 
of Victory, the folds appear to be agitated by a supernatural 
wind. In the centre picture the Baptism of Christ the 
character of the nude is still easy and unconstrained, the 
lower part of the Saviour's figure being seen through the 
water a mode of treating this subject which continued late 
into the middle ages. The head of Christ, with the long 
divided hair, corresponds in great measure with the descrip- 
tion ascribed to Lentulus. The whole is still treated 
somewhat in the spirit of ancient fable, the figure being 
represented simply, without nimbus or glory, with a cross 
between the Saviour and the Baptist : while the river 
Jordan, under the form of a river God, rises out of the water 
on the left in the act of presenting a cloth. The angels, 
which in later representations perform this office, occur 
but rarely at this time. The combined ornamental effect, 
the arrangement of the figures, and the delicate feeling for 
colour pervading the whole, enable us to form an idea of the 
genuine splendour and beauty which have been lost to the 
world in the destruction of the later decorated buildings of 
Imperial Rome. 

Of a totally different description are those now much re- 
stored mosaics, dating from A. D. 432 to 440, which occupy 
the centre aisle and arch of triumph in S. Maria Maggiore 
at Home. On the upper walls of the centre aisle, in thirty- 



24 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

one pictures (those which are lost not included), are 
represented, on a small scale, incidents from the Old 
Testament, with the histories of Moses and Joshua ; while, 
on the arch of triumph, on each side of the apocalyptic 
throne, appear in several rows, one above the other, scenes 
from the life of Christ, beginning with the Annunciation 
and ending with the beheading of John the Baptist ; 
including also the figures of the Apostles Peter and Paul, 
and the emblems of the Evangelists. The Passion of 
Christ is here still excluded. It may be remarked also 
that in the Adoration of the Wise Men the Infant Christ is 
seen seated alone upon the throne, while his mother stands 
among the crowd. Below, on each side, are the believers 
under the form of lambs ; with the cities of Jerusalem and 
Bethlehem behind. In the freedom of historical composition 
which characterises these mosaics they differ in no essential 
principle from the antique ; however evident in point of 
deficiency of keeping and drawing, in awkwardness of action, 
and in the laborious crowding together of the figures the 
increasing inability of execution may appear. The costumes, 
especially of the warriors, are still of the ancient cast ; and 
in single figures particularly on the arch of triumph 
excellent in style, though, at the same time, not seen to 
advantage in this material on so small a scale. Outlines 
and shadows are strongly and boldly denned. 

Contemporary with these last examples, or, at all events, 
before A. D. 450, we may consider the rich decorations of the 
monumental chapel of the Empress Galla Placidia at Ra- 
venna,* preserved entire with all its mosaics ; and, therefore, 
alone fitted to give us an idea of the general decorations 
of the ornamented buildings of that period. This chapel, 
generally known as the Church of SS. Nazaro e Celso, is 
built in the form of a cross, the centre being occupied by a 
square elevation, arched over in the form of the segment of 
a cupola : aisles and transepts terminate above in waggon 
roofs. The lower walls were formerly faced with marble 
slabs. From the entablature upwards begin the mosaics, 
chiefly gold upon a dark-blue ground, which binds the whole 
* See the admirable coloured illustrations by Von Quast. 



Part I. THE LATER ROMAN STYLE. 25 

together with a pleasant effect. Upon the arches are 
ornaments, which, though not in the antique taste, belong, 
in point of elegance, to the most excellent of their kind. 
On the lunettes, at the termination of the transepts, are seen 
golden stags advancing between green-gold arabesques upon 
a blue ground towards a fountain an emblem of the con- 
version of the heathen. In the lunette over the entrance of 
the nave we observe the Good Shepherd, of very youthful 
character, seated among His flock ; while, in the chief lunette 
over the altar, Christ appears full length, with the flag of 
victory, burning the writings of the heretics (or of the 
philosophers) upon a grate. On the walls of the elevated 
portion before alluded to are seen the Apostles, two-and-two, 
without any particular attributes ; between and below each, 
a pair of doves sipping out of basins ; and finally, in the 
centre of the cupola itself, between large stars, appears, it is 
believed for the first time, a plain Latin cross. At the 
corners are the symbols of the Evangelists. Upon the 
whole, the combination of symbols and historical characters 
in these mosaics evinces no definite principle or consistently 
carried out thought ; and, with the exception of the Good 
Shepherd,* the figures are of inferior character. At the 
same time, in point of decorative harmony, the effect of the 
whole is incomparable. On that account we may the more 
lament the loss of the very extensive mosaics of S. Giovanni 
Evangelista at Eavenna, also built by the Empress Galla 
Placidia. Another probably contemporary work, namely, 
the single apsis of the vestibule in the baptistery of the 
Lateran in Eome (of the time of Sixtus III., A. D. 432 to 
440 '?), gives us a high idea of the fine feeling for decoration 
which was peculiar to this otherwise degenerate age. The 
semicircle of the apsis is filled with the most beautiful 
green-gold tendrils upon a dark-blue ground, above which 
the Agnus Dei appears with four doves. 

The age of Pope Leo the Great (A.D. 440 to 462) is dis- 
tinguished by an imposing work, the conception of which is 
attributable probably to the Pope himself, and which became 

* Von Quast has somewhat over-estimated the artistic value of this 
fignr.-. 



26 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 



a favourite example for subsequent times, we mean the 
mosaics on the arch of triumph in S. Paolo fuori le rnura, 
in Eome, which partially survived the unfortunate fire in 
1823, and have since undergone repair. Within a cruciform 
nimbus, f.fteen feet in diameter, and surrounded with rays, 
shines forth in the centre the colossal figure of the Saviour 
the right hand raised, the left holding the sceptre : a 
delicately folded mantle of thin material covers the shoulder ; 
the form is stern, but grand in conception ; the eyebrows in 
finely arched half-circles above the widely opened eyes ; the 
nose in a straight Grecian line ; the mouth, which is left 
clear of all beard, closed with an expression of mild serenity, 
and hair and beard divided in the centre. Above, in the 
clouds, on a smaller scale, are seen the four winged animals 
bearing the books of the Gospels ; lower down two angels 
(perhaps one of the earliest specimens of angel representation) 
are lowering their wands before the Redeemer, on each side 
of whom the four-and-twenty elders are humbly casting their 
crowns those on the right bareheaded, the others covered ; 
the one signifying the prophets of the Old Testament, who 
only saw the truth through a veil ; the other, the apostles of 
the New Testament, who beheld it face to face. Finally, 
below these, where only a narrow space remains next the 
arch, appear, on the left, St. Paul and St. Peter ; both, in 
the style of the divided hair somewhat approaching the type 
of Christ ; both in active gesture, as if engaged in the 
proclamation of the Gospel.* Like the sound of a hymn of 
praise, the adorations of the old and new time, of the 
Evangelists and of the great teachers of the faith, here unite ; 
and whoever at the same time considers that the whole 
length of the walls of the centre aisle were formerly 
occupied with the history of Christ and the Church con- 
sisting of a series of Biblical scenes ; with saints, martyrs, 
and the portraits of the Popes ; the last many centuries later 
in date, will find it difficult to imagine how the mosaics 
of the tribune itself could surpass in beauty those of the 
aisles. That this was neither accomplished nor intended 

* We borrow this description of the mosaics of St. Paul from Kinkel, 
p. 215. 



Part I. THE LATER ROMAN STYLE. 27 

may be justly concluded ; for if we assume that the subjects 
of the present mosaics of the apsis, dating from the thirteenth 
century namely, Christ, with SS. Peter, Paul, Luke, and 
Andrew are the same as those originally occupying this 
space, it is undeniable that not only greater poetical and 
symbolical beauty, but a more vigorous and varied represen- 
tation of the glory of Christ, is to be found upon the arch of 
triumph, an observation which we shall have frequent 
occasion to repeat. For from this time it became the custom 
to introduce on the arch of triumph, and on the arch above 
the tribune, on each side of the central Agnus Dei, or half- 
length of Christ, the figures of angels, apostles, saints, and 
elders, while the apsis was occupied only with a few statu- 
esque figures referring to the building itself, such as the 
patron saints, and the donors, with Christ in the centre. 

These mosaics in the church of S. Paolo fuori le mura 
may be considered to indicate in more than one respect a by 
no means unimportant transition period. The feeling for 
ancient art here only sounds, as it were, from a distance. 
The little naked genii, by a total change of intention, give 
way now to the figures of angels, represented as tall 
and youthful forms, with wings, entirely draped, and occa- 
sionally indicated by their wands as messengers of God. 
The earlier Christian symbolism, with the idyllic scenery of 
the Good Shepherd, and the gay decorative forms of the 
genii of the vintage, have now passed away, and that fantastic 
mystifying element which has always accompanied all reli- 
gious art, and has sought to express itself in characters, partly 
symbolical, partly real, here takes possession of that por- 
tion of the New Testament which, from the earliest Christian 
era, had been enthusiastically read and promulgated, namely, 
the Book of Revelations. But, as in the history of the 
Saviour, only the aspect of His glory and not of His suffering 
was to be given, so in these Apocalyptic pictures it is not 
the forms of death and destruction which appear, but only 
those which indicate the glorification of Christ and His 
people. For we are still in presence of a youthful Church, 
which required that the glory of her Lord should first be 
depicted ; and also in that of an art which, sunk and decrepit 



28 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

as it was, still retained enough of the strength and dignity 
of her better days to keep itself free from all that was 
monstrous and vague. 

During the worst times of the decline of the Western 
Empire, up to the period of Theodoric the Great, art appears 
to have remained in a stationary condition. The chief 
mosaics of the sixth century are, in point of conception, 
scarcely perceptibly inferior to those of the fifth, and in 
splendour of material by no means so. The distinctive 
difference between them can at most be traced in an increas- 
ing want of spirit, in the still gorgeous style of ornament, 
and in a somewhat altered treatment of colouring, drawing, 
and mode of shadowing. 

We commence this new class with the finest mosaics of 
ancient Christian Eome, those of SS. Cosmo e Damiano (A.D. 
526 to 530). Above the arch of the tolerably spacious apsis 
appear, on each side of the Lamb, four angels of excellent 
but somewhat severe style ; then follow various Apocalyptic 
emblems : a modern walling-up having left but few traces of 
the figures of the four-and-twenty elders. A gold surface, 
dimmed by age, with little purple clouds, forms the back- 
ground ; though in Eome, at least, at both an earlier and 
later date, a blue ground prevailed. In the apsis itself, 
upon a dark-blue ground, with golden-edged clouds, is seen 
the colossal figure of Christ ; the right hand raised, the left 
holding a written scroll ; above is the hand extended from 
the clouds, already noticed as the emblem of the First Person 
of the Trinity. Below, on each side, the apostles Peter and 
Paul are leading SS. Cosmo and Damiano, each with crowns 
in their hands, towards the Saviour, followed by St. Theodore 
on the right, and by Pope Felix IV., the founder of the 
church, on the left. This latter, unfortunately, is an entirely 
restored figure. Two palm-trees, sparkling with gold, 
above one of which appears the emblem of eternity the 
phoenix with a star-shaped nimbus, close the composition 
on each side. Further below, indicated by water plants, 
sparkling also with gold, is the river Jordan. The figure of 
Christ may be regarded as one of the most marvellous speci- 
mens of the art of the middle ages. Countenance, attitude, 



Part I. THE LATER ROMAN STYLE. 29 

and drapery combine to give Him an expression of quiet 
majesty, which, for many centuries after, is not found again 
in equal beauty and freedom. The drapery, especially, is 
disposed in noble folds, and only in its somewhat too ornate 
details is a further departure from the antique observable. 
The saints are not as yet arranged in stiff, parallel forms, 
but are advancing forward, so that their figures appear some- 
what distorted, while we already remark something con- 
strained and inanimate in their step. The apostles Peter 
and Paul wear the usual ideal costume ; SS. Cosmo and 
Damiano are attired in the late Koman dress : violet mantles, 
in gold stuff, with red embroideries of Oriental barbaric 
effect. Otherwise the chief motives of the drapery are of 
great beauty, though somewhat too abundant in folds. The 
high lights are brought out by gold and other sparkling 
materials, producing a gorgeous play of colour which reJieves 
the figures vigorously from the dark blue ground. Alto- 
gether a feeling for colour is here displayed of which no 
later mosaics with gold grounds give any idea. The heads, 
with the exception of the principal figure, are animated and 
individual, though without any particular depth of expres- 
sion ; somewhat elderly also in physiognomy, but still far 
removed from any Byzantine stiffness ; St. Peter has already 
the bald head, and St. Paul the short brown hair and dark 
beard, by which they were afterwards recognisable. That 
they are looking before them, and not toward the Saviour, is 
accounted for by their particular relation as patron saints of 
the church ; it being supposed that the pious believers 
would desire to behold the entire countenances of those 
whom they regarded as their especial intercessors. Under 
this chief composition, on a gold ground, is seen the Lamb 
upon a hill, with the four rivers of Paradise and the twelve 
sheep on either hand ; these are drawn with much truth of 
nature, and without any of that heraldic conventionality 
which belongs to the animal representations of the later 
middle ages. The whole is executed with the utmost care ; 
this is observable chiefly in the five or six gradations of 
tints which, in order to obtain the greatest possible softness 
of shadowing, the artist has adopted. 



30 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 



But, in spite of the high excellence of this work, it is 
precisely here that we can clearly discern in what respects 
the degeneracy and impoverishment of art first showed itself. 
Both here and in succeeding works but little action is ex- 
hibited. Eeal, animated, historical composition also, in the 
higher sense, left its last, and it is true, very imperfect 
memorial with the mosaics of the church of S. Maria Mag- 
giore ; and with the exception of a few and constantly re- 
peated Biblical scenes, we have henceforth only to do with 
the glory-subjects of the apsis, and with representations of 
ceremonials almost as lifeless. The slightly animated action 
also, which imparted to the figures some appearance of life, 
ceases with the seventh century, at which period an abso- 
lutely statuesque immobility of form commences ; while the 
artist soon ceased to comprehend both the principles and 
the effects of natural movement. Not less characteristic 
of the rapid wane of art is the increasing age of the holy 
personages (with the exception of the Saviour, who never- 
theless appears in the ripeness of man's estate), SS. Cosmo 
and Damiano being represented as men of fifty years of age. 
We have already observed that Christian art, from its 
earliest commencement, never ventured to represent these 
personages under mere ideal forms, but sought rather to 
clothe them, portrait-like, with the features of a race who 
had, even physically, deteriorated. Thus 4ie objects pro- 
posed to be represented, and the incapacity of representation, 
coincided more and more ; yet for all this, we are every 
moment reminded of that ancient art whence these works 
are derived. Even the colossal scale of the forms awakens 
in the spectator a feeling of awe ; the ideal drapery and 
the regular lines in which it is disposed convey the impres- 
sion of a higher nature, undisturbed by any earthly passions. 
In Eavenna no mosaics of the Ostrogothic period have 
been preserved. Even the picture of Theodoric the Great, 
on the front of his palace, which represented him on horse- 
back, with breastplate, shield, and lance, between the alle- 
gorical figures of Eome and Eavenna, has, like the mural 
paintings in his palace at Pavia, entirely disappeared. It 
was not till towards the middle of the sixth century that 



P.irt I. THE LATER ROMAN STYLE. 31 

mosaic painting recommenced in Ravenna ; consequently, 
after the occupation of Uavenna by the Byzantians in 539 ; 
an event, however, which does not warrant the application 
of the term " Byzantine " to works of that period. The 
style of art is still of that late Eoman class which we have 
already described, and we have no reason to conclude that 
the artists belonged to a more Eastern school.* 

Of doubtful age are the mosaics in S. Maria in Cosmedin, 
the Baptistery of the Arians, though the decoration of that 
building belongs almost indisputably to the time of the 
veritable Byzantine dominion ; probably, therefore, to the 
middle of the sixth century. We here observe a free imita- 
tion of the cupola mosaics of the orthodox church. Sur- 
rounding the centre picture of the Baptism of Christ are 
arranged the figures of the Twelve Apostles, bearing crowns 
in their hands, their line interrupted on the east side by 
a golden throne with a cross. The figures are no longer 
advancing, but stand motionless, yet without stiffness. The 
heads are somewhat more uniformly drawn, but the draperies 
already display stiffness of line, with unmeaning breaks and 
folds, and a certain crudeness of light and shade. The 
decline of the feeling for decoration shows itself not only 
in the unpleasant interruption of the figures caused by the 
throne, but also in the introduction of heavy palm-trees 
between the single figures, instead of the graceful acanthus- 
plant. In the centre picture the nude form of the Christ 
is somewhat stiffer, though that of St. John is precisely the 
same as in the Baptisteries of the orthodox church. On 
the other hand, the river Jordan is introduced as a third 
person, with the upper part of the figure bare, a green lower 
garment, hair and beard long and white, two red, crescent- 
shaped horns on his head, a reed in his hand, and an urn 
beside him. In the drawing and shadowing of the flesh 
no great alteration is observable, but the general execution 
lias become somewhat ruder, arid the motives here and there 
less free. 

* Didron, in his Byzantine enthusiasm (see ' Manuel d'leonographie 
Chreticnne,' Paris, 1845, p. 46), ascribes, it is true, the mosaics of S. Vitale 
to that school, and even particularly to the artist-monks of Mount Athos, 
though giving no reason for this very bold assertion. 



32 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

In the year 545 the church of S. Michele in Affricisco 
was consecrated, the beautiful mosaics of which, in the apsis 
and upon the arch of triumph, representing the Saviour 
triumphant among angels and archangels, have been 
taken down and sold to the Prussian government. Two 
years later, A.D. 547, followed the consecration of the cele- 
brated church of S. Vitale, the mosaics of which may have 
been completed some short time before. Unfortunately, 
only the decorations of the principal tribune, and those of 
the quadrangular arched space before it, are all that have 
been preserved. They refer in subject to the foundation 
and consecration of the church, with the sacrament of the 
Lord's Supper. Gold grounds and blue grounds alternate 
here, the former being confined to the apsis and to two of 
the four divisions of the arched space. In the semidome 
of the apsis appears a still very youthful Christ, seated upon 
the globe of the world ; on each side two angels, with 
S. Vitalis as patron of the church, and Bishop Ecclesius 
as founder ; the latter carrying a model of the building. 
Below are the four rivers of Paradise, flowing through 
green meadows, while the golden ground is striped with 
purple clouds. The figures are all noble and dignified, 
especially the Christ, whose ideal youthfulness scarcely 
recurs after that time. In the drapery there is much that 
is conventional, especially in the mode of shading, though 
a certain truthfulness still prevails. Upon the perpendicular 
wall of the apsis appear two large ceremonial representations 
upon a gold ground, which, as the almost sole surviving 
specimens of the higher style of secular subjects, are of 
great interest, and, as examples of costume, quite invaluable. 
The picture on the right represents the relation in which 
the Emperor Justinian stood to the church the figures as 
large as life. In splendid attire, laden with the diadem and 
with a purple and gold-embroidered mantle, fastened with 
an enormous fibula, is seen the Emperor, advancing, his 
hands full of costly gifts ; his haughty, bloated, vulgar, 
but yet regular countenance, with the eyebrows elevated 
towards the temples, is seen in front. To him succeed a 
number of courtiers, doubtless also portraits, and next to 








Mosaics of the 6th century in S Vitale, Ravenna. representing JOSTINIAN AND THEODOEA 



Part I. THE LATER ROMAN STYLE. 33 

them the easily recognisable, fair, Germanic body-guard, 
with sword and shield. Archbishop Maximian, with his 
clergy, is advancing to meet the Emperor. He, also, with 
his bald head, and the pathetic half-closed slits of eyes, is 
a characteristic portrait of the time. 

The opposite picture, on the left, represents the Empress 
Theodora, surrounded by gorgeously attired women and 
attendants, in the act of entering the church. The Empress 
is also clad in the dark violet (purple) imperial mantle, 
and from her grotesque diadem hangs a whole cascade 
of beads and jewels, inclosing a narrow, pale, highly 
significant face, in whose large hollow eyes, and small 
sensual mouth, the whole history of that clever, imperious, 
voluptuous, and merciless woman is written. A chamberlain 
before her is drawing back a richly embroidered curtain, 
so as to exhibit the entrance-court of a church, betokened 
as such by its cleansing fountain. Justinian and Theodora 
are distinguished by bright glories, a homage which the 
artist of that time could scarcely withhold, since he evidently 
knew no other form of flattery. 

Of somewhat inferior execution are the mosaics of the 
lofty quadrangular space before the apsis, representing the 
Old Testament symbols of the sacrifice of the mass. On 
the vaulting, between green gold tendrils upon a blue 
ground, and green upon a gold ground, are four flying angels 
upon globes, resembling antique Victories ; below, in the 
four angles, are four peacocks. On the upper wall, above 
the apsis, two angels, gracefully hovering, hold a shield 
with the sign of the Redeemer ; on each side, blazing with 
jewels, of which they are entirely constructed, are the cities 
of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, with vine-tendrils and birds on 
a blue ground above them. On either side-wall, in a curious 
architectural framework,* are the secular pictures wo have 
already mentioned. Two semicircles contain the principal 
subjects, viz., the bloody and bloodless sacrifice of the Old 
Covenant. We sec Abraham bearing provisions to the three 
young men in white garments, who are seated at table under 

* D'Agiucourt gives a sketch of it. Sec his ' Hiijtoire de 1'Art,' Plate 
XVI. 



34 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

a leafless but budding tree, while Sarah stands behind the 
door laughing. Then, again, we behold the Patriarch 
on the point of offering up his son Isaac, who kneels 
naked before him. Then Abel (an excellent and per- 
fectly antique shepherd figure) in the act of holding up 
the firstling of his flock before a wooden hut ; while Mel- 
chisedec (designated by a nimbus as the symbol of Christ), 
advancing from a temple in the form of a Basilica, pro- 
nounces a blessing over the bread and wine. The pictures 
then continue further the history of the Old Covenant, 
with Moses, first seen as a Shepherd; then drawing off 
his sandals before the Burning Bush (a well -conceived 
motive) ; and lastly receiving the tables of the Law upon the 
Mount, while the people are waiting below. Isaiah and 
Jeremiah, grey-headed men in white robes, appear to be 
vehemently agitated by the spirit of prophecy ; and further 
upward, in similar gestures of inspiration, are seen the Four 
Evangelists seated with their emblems, St. Matthew looking 
up to the angel as if to a vision. Above, the subject is 
closed by fine arabesques, vine-tendrils, and birds. Finally, 
in the front archivolt next the dome are thirteen medallions 
between elegant arabesques upon a blue ground, containing 
representations of Christ and the Apostles ; individual, 
portrait-like heads, several of which have suffered a later 
restoration. The execution of the whole front space is 
partially rude and superficial, especially that of the prophets 
and evangelists. In drawing, also, these portions are in- 
ferior to the works in the apsis, although, in that respect, 
they still excel those of the following century. In the 
delineation of animals, for example in the lion of St. Mark, 
a sound feeling for nature is still evinced ; the same in the 
tree before Abraham's dwelling. In many parts the back- 
ground landscape is elevated in a very remarkable manner, 
consisting of steep steps of rocks covered with verdure ; an 
evident attempt to imitate the forms of reality. Unfortu- 
nately nothing more is preserved of the mosaics of the cupola 
and the rest of the church. 

The next specimens to be considered are the mosaics in 
S. Apollinare Nuovo, formerly the Basilica of Theodoric the 



flirt I. THE LATER ROMAN STYLE. 35 

Great, which, in all probability, were executed chiefly between 
the years 553 and 566, and are also perfectly unique in their 
way, though the principal portions, apsis and arch of triumph, 
have been restored. But the upper walls of the centre aisle 
still sparkle, from the arches up to the roof, with their 
original and very rich mosaic decorations. Two prodigious 
friezes, next above the arch, contain long processions upon a 
gold ground, which, belonging as they do, to the very last 
days of ancient art, remind us curiously of the Panathenaic 
procession upon the Parthenon at Athens. On the right are 
the martyrs and the confessors, advancing solemnly from 
the city of Ravenna, which is here signified by a mag- 
nificent representation of the palace of the Ostrogothic kings, 
with its upper and lower arcade and corner towers and domes. 
Through the entrance-gate a gold ground shines forth, as 
symbol of dominion, On the walls are the female forms of 
Victory in gay garments ; and white hangings, richly de- 
corated with flowers and fringes, ornament the lower arcade. 
The procession is advancing in slow but well-expressed move- 
ment through an avenue of palm-trees, which divide the single 
figures. All are clad in light-coloured garments, with crowns 
in their hands. Their countenances are all greatly similar, 
and (in contradistinction to the individual character of the 
figures of the apostles in the older Baptisteries and even in 
S. Vitale) are reduced to a few spirited lines, though still 
tolerably true to nature. The execution is careful, as is also 
the gradation of the tints. At the end uf the procession, and 
as the goal of it, appears Christ upon a throne, the four 
archangels around Him noble, solemn figures, in no respect 
inferior either in style or execution to those in the apsis of 
S. Vitale. On the left side of the church (that which was 
occupied by the women) we perceive a similarly arranged 
procession of female martyrs and confessors advancing from 
the suburb of Classis, recognised by its harbours and forti- 
fications. At the head of the procession is the Adoration 
of the Three Kings. Upon a throne, surmounted by four 
beautiful angels, appears the Madonna, who, as we have said 
before, takes her place at this early period only in an his- 
torical sense. She is depicted as a matron of middle age ; 

D 2 



36 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

a veil upon her head is encircled by a nimbus, which is of 
later introduction. Upon her lap is seated the already well- 
grown and fully clothed child. Of the subject of the Three 
Kings the greater portion has been restored, but a spiritedly 
expressed and active action is still discernible, as well as the 
splendid barbaric costume, with its richly bordered doublet, 
short silken mantle, and nether garments of tiger-skin. 
Here, as in the opposite frieze, the last portion of the subject 
is best treated. Further up, between the windows, are single 
figures of the apostles and saints standing in niches, with 
birds and vases between them. The dark and heavy shadow- 
ing of their white garments, and the stiff and unrefined 
conception of the whole, certainly indicate a somewhat later 
period, probably the seventh century. Quite above, and 
over the windovfs, on a very small scale, and now scarcely 
distinguishable., are the Miracles of our Lord. 

We may neyt be allowed to mention the mosaics in the 
chapel of the archiepiscopal palace at Ravenna, which, al- 
though upon no contemptible historical grounds* attributable 
to an earlier age, yet in style remind us more of the latter 
end of the sixth century. The chapel consists of a dome 
upon four circular arches, on the soffits of which, upon gold 
ground, are sets of seven medallions, with the representa- 
tions of the youthful Christ, of the apostles, and several 
saints, upon a blue ground, a work which resembles the 
thirteen circular pictures in S. Vitale, but is lighter and 
inferior in execution. The centre of the gold-grounded dome 
is occupied by a large medallion with the monogram of 
Christ, upheld by four simple and graceful angel figures 
rising from the four springings of the arch. In the four 
intermediate spaces are the winged emblems of the Evan- 

* See Von Quast, ibid., p. 16, where they are pronounced to belong to 
the middle of the fifth century chiefly on account of a monogram "Petrus," 
which is considered to refer to the then living archbishop, Petrus Chryso- 
logos. We should rather connect it with the Archbishop Petrus IV., A.D. 
569 to 574. Altogether we have taken the chronology of the mosaics 
partly from the already cited works of Von Quast, and partly from 
Platner's and Urlich's ' Beschreibung Rom's.' Schnaase, in his ' Kunst- 
geschichte,' vol. iii. p. 202, assigns to S. Maria Maggiore in Rome the date 
of 425-430, and to S. Maria in Cosmedin, and S. Apollinare Nuovo in 
Ravenna, a period before the year 526. 



Part I. THE LATER ROMAN STYLE. 37 

gelists, bearing the richly decorated books of the Gospel. 
The Lion of St. Mark is remarkable for an almost human 
form of head. A broad passage leads into a space beyond, 
terminating in a waggon roof. This is decorated with birds 
and flowers upon a gold ground, which are very rudely and 
sketchily treated, and probably belong to a still later period. 

Next in order to these come such relics of the time of 
Justinian as have been preserved in Constantinople, namely, 
the mosaics in the church of S. Sophia, some portions of 
which appear to belong to the middle of the sixth century, 
and others to a later date. The whitewash, with which 
these mosaics have been covered since the transformation 
of the church into a mosque, having been on a recent occa- 
sion of repairs, temporarily removed, the opportunity was 
seized to copy their chief remains, which have since been 
given to the public in a worthy form.* All the other 
principal works of the time of Justinian, as for example the 
great cupola picture in the vestibule of the palace at Con- 
stantinople, representing the Emperor as Monarch of the 
World, surrounded by his court, have utterly disappeared. 

We have at present only considered the more important of 
the still existing works of the fifth and sixth centuries,f but, 
according both to tradition and analogy, those which are lost 
must have been incomparably more splendid, more extensive, 
and grander in plan. All that remains for us now is to 
mention a few specimens, the date of which is uncertain, 
but which may be probably assigned to this period. In 
S. Pudenziana at Rome, for instance, there is a large 
apsis mosaic, too much restored at different times for the 
date to be now determinable ; it belonged originally per- 
haps even to the fourth century, at all events not to the 
time of Pope Hadrian I. (A.D. 772-785), or of Hadrian III. 
(A.D. 884-885), as is the common opinion ; for even if 
the building itself be proved to be of more recent date, 
still this work at least must have been copied from one 

* See Salzenberg, ' Altchristliche Baudenkmaie in Konstantinopel.' 
t It must be borne in mind that every existing ancient mosaic has been 
necessarily subjected to repairs and restorations ; the latter always in the 
character of the restorer's own time ; so that no entire reliance can be 
placed on the evidence of their details. 



33 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 



much older. The centre represents Christ enthroned, on 
either hand SS. Peter and Paul, and the two female saints 
Praxedis and Pudentiana. These figures are seen half- 
length above a row of eight male half-figures in antique 
drapery (portraits, perhaps, of the founders), which are not 
placed singly side by side, but overlap each other like double 
profiles on a coin. Behind these figures is an arcade with 
a roof and glittering buildings over it. Above, in the 
heavens, which are represented by purple, gold-edged clouds, 
are the four signs of the Evangelists, and, in the centre, a 
richly decorated gold cross. The architectural background, 
the perspective arrangement of the figures, their very broad 
and free treatment (so far as they are not the work of the 
modern restorer), indicate, if we are not mistaken, the Con- 
stantinian period of art, though we are judging from what is 
perhaps only a copy, and at all events from a more than 
commonly disfigured work. 

In the circular church of S. Teodoro in Rome a figure of 
Christ with saints, upon a gold ground, has been preserved 
in the end tribune. This work is probably not earlier than 
the seventh century, and is chiefly interesting to us here as 
one of the earliest specimens of the copying of the old 
mosaics. Christ is represented in a violet robe, with long 
light hair and short beard, with an expression of great 
benignity. He is seated in the act of benediction upon a 
blue, starred globe, with a long sceptre in His left hand. 
St. Peter, on the right, is conducting St. Theodore ; and 
St. Paul, on the left, another youthful saint, both presenting 
their crowns upon their richly embroidered mantles as an 
offering to Christ. The figures of SS. Peter and Theodore 
are here exact copies of those in the corresponding subject 
in SS. Cosmo e Damiano, while the younger saint, with his 
eyes humbly cast down, is probably a new creation. From 
what older, and perhaps demolished picture the representa- 
tion of the Christ is taken we know not. The execution is 
good, the shading careful, and even the nude portions are 
here depicted with tolerable spirit ; only in the unmeaning 
character of the drapery is the deep decline of art apparent. 
The mosaics upon the arch of triumph in S. Lorenzo fuori 



Part I. THE LATER ROMAN STYLE. 39 

le mura, near Eome (towards the hinder church), bear the 
positive dates of A.D. 578, 590, but have been so restored and 
disfigured that, to all appearance, they belong to a later 
period. They represent Christ upon the globe of the world, 
surrounded by five saints, with Pope Pelagius II., the 
founder of the building. Finally, we may here notice the 
mosaics in the octagon side-chapel of S. Lorenzo in Milan, 
where Christ, with the apostles in white garments, and also 
a pastoral scene in a very ancient pre-Byzantine style of 
art (if we are not mistaken), decorate the semidomes of two 
large niches. 

Next in importance to the art of mosaics must be con- 
sidered that of miniature-painting, by means of which the 
books employed both in the service of the church and for 
purposes of private devotion, as also many of a worldly 
import, were adorned with more or less of pictorial splendour. 
With the reverential feeling of the times, it was usual to 
decorate the contents as well as the exterior of the Scriptures 
in the most gorgeous manner, a fashion which commenced, 
doubtless, with the copies of the classic authors which needed 
the assistance of pictorial illustration to explain those usages 
and costumes which had passed away with the glory of the 
ancient world. In this class of art the range of subjects is 
far more extensive than in that of the catacomb or mosaic 
pictures ; and some of the earliest specimens of miniature- 
painting present to us once more the antique mode of 
composition in such grandeur and variety that we can only 
the more regret the treasures of this kind which have 
perished. To those surviving belongs the Book of Joshua 
in the Library of the Vatican. This is a parchment roll of 
more than thirty feet long, entirely covered with historical 
scenes ; according to an inscription upon it, not of earlier 
date than the seventh or eight century, but doubtless from 
some work of the best early Christian time. This interesting 
specimen has the appearance of a carefully but boldly and 
freely drawn sketch, executed in few colours, and differing 
greatly from the highly finished splendour of later Byzan- 
tine miniatures. There is a spirit in the composition, a 
beauty in some of the motives, and a richness of invention in 



40 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

the whole, which assign to this work the highest place 
among the properly historical representations of early Chris- 
tian times. Costume and weapons are here still perfectly 
antique : Joshua is always distinguished by the nimbus, as 
are also the fine symbolical female forms, with sceptres and 
mural crowns, which represent the besieged and conquered 
cities ; for the whole landscape is expressed by symbols, 
mountain and river deities, &c. In the battle scenes the 
wildest action is often most happily expressed, though the 
artist, of course, shows little knowledge either of perspective 
or of the relative proportion of the figures. The copyist of 
the later period is discernible, almost solely, by his obvious 
ignorance of the drawing of joints and extremities. In this 
respect the celebrated Virgil of the Vatican, No. 3225, as an 
original work of the fourth or fifth century, appears to 
greater advantage, though, in composition, it does not equal 
the Book of Joshua. The colours, where they are not so 
rubbed away as to exhibit the drawing beneath, are light in 
tint, and have considerable body. The shading is slight, 
and, as yet, not too minute. The drawing displays a super- 
abundance of motive from the antique, though, in the action 
of the figures, it is already very inanimate.* Of the same 
early period, but much more defective in drawing, appears 
to us the Book of Genesis in the Imperial Library at 
Vienna. In the Ambrosian Library at Milan fifty-eight 
miniatures have been preserved, fragments of a manuscript 

* The above-mentioned and other miniatures may be judged of in the 
tolerably authentic tracings in D'Agincourt's ' Histoire de 1'Art,' Tab. XIX., 
where the Virgil especially, which, however, does not further concern us 
here, is upon the whole well rendered. A very remarkable Syrian book 
of the Gospels, executed A.D. 586 in a Mesopotamian monastery by one 
Rabula, a calligraphist, exists in the Laurentian Library at Florence. If 
we may form any conclusion from the specimens in D'Agincourt, Plate 27, 
it appears that the decline of art took a different direction here to that 
which is apparent among the Byzantians. Here we are struck by full, 
round, though otherwise conventional forms, accompanied by the greatest 
spirit of action and gesture. The Ascension, which D'Agiucourt has 
selected as a specimen, would, the period considered, give a very high idea 
of the composition of these miniatures. At all events, the figure of Christ 
hovering among angels, and the animated group of apostles and angels 
on each side of the Madonna, is not conceived without grandeur, though 
wretched in execution. By the same hand, it may here be observed, is one 
of the first known representations of the Crucifixion. 



Part I. THE LATER ROMAN STYLE. 41 

Homer. These also date from the fourth or fifth century, 
and in the broad, solid manner in which the colours are 
applied, as well as in the treatment of the drapery, have 
quite the antique look. At the same time the details are 
still more weakly and unskilfully executed, and the com- 
position not only scattered as in the Vatican Virgil, but 
either confused or monotonous.* A Vatican Terence of the 
ninth century is, perhaps, the very rude copy of an excellent 
work of classic times. Besides these we find beautiful single 
figures and compositions of early Christian and antique 
feeling scattered in various separate manuscripts even in the 
later middle ages, showing that, in the gradual decline of 
the powers of invention, it became a matter of convenience 
to copy what already existed. 

As early as after the conquest of Italy by the Longobards, 
but principally after the seventh century, there occurs a 
division in the schools of painting : those artists who 
persevere exclusively in the old track may be observed to 
sink into barbaric ignorance of form, while on the other 
hand, for mosaics and all higher kinds of decorative work, 
the style and materials of Byzantine art, which we shall 
consider in the next chapter, come more and more into vogue. 
Thus it happened that the more important Italian works of 
the seventh and succeeding centuries are found to follow the 
Byzantine style, while the lesser class of works, such as 
miniatures and a few surviving sculptures, seem (occasionally 
at least) to run wild in a total licence of style which may be 
designated as Longobardian. The miniatures consist of 
rudely daubed outlines filled up with patches of colour.^ 

* ' Iliadis fragments cum Picturis, &c., edente Aug. Majo, &c.,' Milan, 
1819. Fifty eight outline drawings, much restored by some feeble modern 
hand. 

t For information on the Longobardian style, see Von Rumohr's ' Ital. 
Forschungen,' vol. i. p. 186, where a catalogue of the few adducible speci- 
mens is given, consisting of the remains of the Frescoes in the Crypt of the 
Cathedral at Assisi, and in the subterranean chapel of SS. Nazzaro e Celso 
at Verona (where a glory and Biblical scenes are rudely painted upon 
a white ground), several manuscripts, &c. Unfortunately, nothing is pre- 
served of the Longobardian historical subjects which Queen Theolinda 
caused to be painted in her palace at Monza at the beginning of the seventh 
century. According to Paulus Diaconus the old national costume of the 
Longobards was correctly portrayed in them. The Longobardian diplomas 
at Monte Casino and other places generally commence with a miniature. 



42 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

As specimens of the sculptural school we may cite the relief 
on the hinder door of S. Fidele in Como, with the subject of 
Habakkuk carried by angels by the hair of his head. In 
these short, thick figures, with their coarse, heavy counte- 
nances and extremities, it would be difficult to recognise 
even the faintest trace of ancient art. Nevertheless we are 
fully conscious that in these apparently formless productions 
of conventionality., as opposed to the more legitimate Byzan- 
tine rigidities, there lay a germ of freedom from which, 
later, a new school of development was to spring. 



Part II. THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 43 



PART II. 

THE BYZANTINE STYLE* 

THE commencement of the Byzantine school is generally 
placed at an earlier period than that of the fifth century 
which we here assume. The reasons which lead us to differ 
in this respect have been already alluded to. Up to the 
beginning of the seventh century art appears to us, as far as 
Roman civilization still existed, to be essentially one and the 
same in the east and the west, and therefore entitled to no 
other name than that of late Roman or early Christian. If, 
as early as the fifth and sixth centuries, the foundations of 
that school are discernible which, later, developed itself more 
especially into the art of the Eastern Empire, we must not, 
on that account, assume for it, at that time, the appellation 
of Byzantine, but rather designate it only as that late Roman 
style which, wherever the Roman element was not too 
thoroughly amalgamated with the Gothic, was common to 
the whole ancient world. It was not until after the middle 
of the seventh century that this state of things broke up. 
Under the Emperor Justinian the Eastern Empire acquired 
that form which adhered to it in the following centuries ; 
while, in an intellectual sense, it is from that period also that 
the Byzantine element may be said to have attained its full 
development. In Italy, on the other hand, this was precisely 
the period of the deepest decline of art. After having 
surrendered up its mildest rulers, the Ostrogoths, to the 
armies of Justinian, and submitted itself to the Eastern 
dominion, it was next invaded by the Longobards, who 
brought about the most singular division of the country. 
For while the great mass of the centre of the land fell to the 
invaders, the important coast regions, including the largest 

* Byzantine or Greek (Christian) art for the terms are identical is 
the offspring of the Eastern Church, influenced originally by ancient Greek 
art. 



44: EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

cities, and all the islands, remained in possession of the 
Byzantines. This, therefore, was the time for this portion 
of the territory, perpetually threatened as it was by the 
Longobards, to attach itself more closely to the protecting 
power of Byzantium. Now also the period had arrived when 
the decline both of art and civilization may be considered to 
have so increased that an influence from without had become 
indispensable, and therefore it is that for that universal 
style of art which, in the seventh century, prevailed alike in 
Eome as in Naples, in Apulia and Calabria as in Sicily, in 
Ravenna and the Pentapolis as in the rising city of Venice, 
and even partially in Genoa differing as it does from the 
previous late Eoman school we rightly assume the title of 
Byzantine. The victories of Charlemagne had, later, no 
power to destroy or interrupt the deeply founded connection 
between the schools of Italy and Constantinople, while 
Lower Italy and that city which was hereafter to play such 
a conspicuous part in the history of art, namely Venice, 
remained inaccesible to his attacks. 

The diffusion of the Byzantine style may be conjecturally 
accounted for in various ways. There is no doubt that from 
the great nursery school of Constantinople many a Greek 
artist emigrated into Italy. At that time the Eastern capital 
abounded unquestionably in workshops, whence the provinces 
were supplied with innumerable works of every kind, from a 
statue or painting, to the capital of a pillar. The monas- 
teries of Constantinople and Thessalonica (?), and those of 
Mount Athos, we may regard as the great central ateliers of 
painting ; while, on the other hand, it is certain that many 
an artist from the West pursued his studies in the chief 
places of artistic activity in the East. In this way there 
ensued in Italy every grade of relationship with Byzantine 
art, from the directest school connexion, to the merest super- 
ficial influence. Finally, we shall endeavour to show that 
the Byzantine style, in connexion with the state of civiliza- 
tion at that time, was precisely the most easily communicable 
in outward forms which the history of art, in the higher 
civilized nations, has ever known. So much so, that works 
executed at third hand, for instance, by the Western scholars 



Part II. THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 45 

of a Western master himself having been perhaps but for a 
short time the pupil of some emigrated Greek artist differ 
in no great degree from the original models in Constantinople 
itself. 

The indisputable advantage which Byzantium possessed 
over the Western countries, in point of art, consisted in its 
freedom from all barbarian invasion, in its totally undisturbed 
tradition and cultivation (or perversion) of ancient art, and 
in that tendency to neatness and elegance of execution, such 
as the luxury of a great capital demanded, which went hand 
in hand with these advantages. It matters not how widely 
the modes of composition differed from those of antiquity 
how little there was in common between the heavy, gloomy 
varnished colours of this school, and the light, graceful 
colouring of the old Koman works it was still of the 
greatest importance that there should have been one spot in 
the world where artistic activity on a large scale never 
faltered ; just as it was important, in a political sense, for 
the earlier middle ages of the West to have always possessed, 
in the Byzantine government, an undisturbed normal form 
for their authority in times of emergency. But we must 
remember that no art is nourished by tradition and colossal 
undertakings alone. Her proper existence can only be sup- 
plied from those thousand moral sources which we compre- 
hend in the widest sense by the term " national life ; " and 
in Byzantium these sources were either greatly troubled or 
entirely sealed. The worn-out forms of the old world are 
here found, to use a hackneyed but most suitable illustration, 
embalmed like mummies for the wonder of posterity. The 
monarchs who sat upon the throne, surrounded with oriental 
pomp and splendour, were, for the most part, either cruel 
despots or cowards. The courtiers around them concealed 
beneath the disguise of the most abject servility a disposition 
to perpetual intrigue and sanguinary conspiracy. * With 
this state of things among the higher classes, the condition 
of the enslaved people, at least in the capital, stood in con- 
sistent relation. It is significant that the public games were 

* We refer here to the masterly characteristics of Byzantine manners m 
Sctnaase's ' Kunstgeschichte,' vol. iii. p. 93, 



46 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

their highest object of interest, and that the same people in 
whom every political idea was extinguished, could yet bring 
about a great general insurrection by their party zeal for 
this or that division of the racers in the Hippodrome. In 
other respects, oriental luxury and sensuality, and Koman 
thirst of gain, usurped, between them, all the interests of 
life. Science had degenerated to a system of dry compila- 
tion all literary activity was dead, and all national life un- 
known. Even Christianity, which, precisely at that time, 
was laying the foundations for the future unity of Europe 
among the Teutonic races, was to be traced here in the Empire 
of the East only by its perversions. Dogmatical disputes 
upon the absolutely Incomprehensible extended from the 
clergy, not only to the court and government, which it in- 
volved in the fiercest contests, but served also for an object 
of pastime and dispute to the common people, with whom, 
even in better times, the passion for argument had become 
second nature ; while, wherever real piety showed herself, 
she was obstructed by monkish austerity, or cruel intolerance. 
The most important political event of Byzantine times (next 
to the wars with the Persians, Saracens, and Hungarians), 
namely, the controversy about images, is connected with the 
fanaticism which four centuries of disputes had nourished 
into full growth. The origin and history of this controversy 
are well known. The reproach of idol worship, which Jew 
and Mahometan had alike cast upon the richly decorated 
Christian service, and the hope of converting both the Israel- 
ite and the infidel, had suggested to the Emperor Leo the 
Isaurian the idea of doing away with pictures altogether. 
His coercive measures for this purpose began in the year 730, 
and a struggle ensued which lasted for above a century the 
whole State and all the interests belonging to it, foreign as 
most of them were to the question, being involved in the 
dispute. The triumph of the image partisans was first 
decided by the tumultuous Synod of 842, though even this 
was only ephemeral, inasmuch as the province of painting 
and that of flat relief were ultimately alone retained, while 
the long languishing art of pure sculpture was entirely con- 
demned. No visible disadvantage to the cause of art is 



Part II. THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 47 

traceable, however, to this period of struggle, during which 
not only profane painting, but religious painting also, thanks 
to many an obstinate monk, continued to be practised. Still, 
it may be here and there remarked that the last relics of 
freedom and nature disappeared from Byzantine works at 
this time, and that they now first assume that hieratical stiff- 
ness of type which seems to bid defiance equally to the 
heresy which opposed them, and to the image-proscribing 
tenets of Islamism. With this is further connected the fact 
that at this time (the eighth and ninth centuries) the repre- 
sentation of the Passion of our Lord, and of the Martyrdoms 
of the Saints, subjects of which art had hitherto been igno- 
rant, first obtained in the Byzantine Schools.* It must be 
borne in mind that artists themselves had fallen martyrs to 
the cause in the fury of the struggle ; and that the Church 
also now stood firm enough to afford to exhibit the image of 
the suffering as well as of the triumphant Saviour. An 
ecclesiastical decision, ten years prior to the question of 
images, shows that in respect of the Passion a particular 
change in religious sentiment had arisen. The Council of 
Constantinople in the year 692 (generally denominated the 
Quinisext council) had decided that the direct human repre- 
sentation of the Saviour was to be preferred to the symboli- 
cal, namely, to that of the Lamb, hitherto adopted ; a decision 
to which the whole world of art was expected to conform. 
This was a formal declaration of the extinction of that alle- 
gorical taste which had been proper to the earliest Christian 
age, and of the transition from the symbolical to the histori- 
cal, which we have already had occasion to point out in the 
mosaics of S. Paolo fuori le mura at Rome. The speedy in- 
troduction of the Crucifixion pictures was a necessary conse- 
quence, for the redeeming office of the Saviour could now be 
hardly otherwise expressed. Besides, the Council expressly 
speaks of " Him who bore the sins of the world," by which 
the representation of His Passion, if not positively of His 

* Though, as early as the fourth century, Bishop Asterius, of Amasiii, 
mentions a ( picture of the martyrdom of St. Euphemia, yet this must be 
considered as an accidental exception, which in a time, as it were, of artistic 
fermentation, will not be considered strange. Ecclesiastical art had doubt- 
less nothing to do with it. 



48 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 



Crucifixion, was indicated. Soon after this, in the year 730, 
Pope Gregory II., in his letter to Leo the Isaurian, makes 
mention of the various scenes of the Passion, Tra&^taTa, as 
feasible and praiseworthy subjects of the walls of churches. 
What still remained wanting to direct the new school was 
supplied by the already mentioned modes of thought which 
the image-question had developed. 

In order more rightly to estimate the Byzantine style 
within the limits we have prescribed to ourselves, we must 
once more give a glance at the events we have been recording. 
Ancient art, already in the third century deep in decline, 
then stripped of its old subjects and animated with the new 
spirit which a new religion supplied, had still so much 
vitality left, from the fourth to the sixth century, as to create 
new types of art, in which the element of the sublime can be 
as little denied as in the older Greek forms utterly in- 
ferior as they are in other respects. It was not only during 
the most wretched period of despotism, but in the midst also 
of that misery occasioned by the irruption of the northern 
races, that this new tendency had been developed, and had 
found in the material of mosaic a brilliant and suitable 
mode of representation. Eeplete with quiet dignity, appro- 
priate in action, with a solemn flow of drapery, gigantic in 
size, the figures thus expressed look down upon us from their 
altar tribunes with a fascination, both of an historic and 
aesthetic nature, which the unprejudiced spectator can hardly 
resist. Nevertheless, at the same period, the art of dramatic 
historical painting, even the very power of depicting the 
movements of life, had sunk into utter oblivion showing 
that the study of nature had ceased, as in every epoch of 
decline, to be regarded either as the source or auxiliary of 
artistic inspiration. It is curious to remark how one portion 
of the figure after the other now becomes rigid the joints, 
the extremities, and at last even the countenance, which 
assumes a morose stricken expression. The step is, as it 
were, arrested, the garments are loaded with inexpressive 
folds, the art of decoration degenerates even in the midst of 
apparently the greatest wealth of ornament, and the gold 
ground, which we have seen in the Eavenna mosaics of the 



Part IL THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 49 

sixth century supplanting the blue, now extinguishes all the 
finer sense of colour, and substitutes for it a false gaudiness. 

It was the Byzantine school which first brought art to this 
state of prostration, and then, accompanied as it was by a 
highly developed but merely technical skill, kept her 
stationary there for many a long century.* 

From the totally superficial and defective representation of 
the human form observable in these works, it is evident that 
the Byzantine artist now rested satisfied with a mere conven- 
tional type, from which all semblance of reality was 
banished. The figures are long and meagre, the action stiff 
and angular, hands and feet attenuated and powerless. At 
the same time a singular pretension to correctness of anatomy 
forms a more odious contrast to the departure from nature in 
all other respects. Figures, in which no one limb is rightly 
disposed, have still, as far as the form is seen, the full com- 
plement of ribs in the body, and a most unnecessary display 
of muscle in the arms. How utterly all power had departed 
from this school is shown by the most abject restriction to 
quietness of attitude; and where the slightest action is 
attempted, be it only a single step, the figure appears to be 
stumbling on level ground. Sometimes the earth beneath 
their feet is entirely omitted, so that the figures are relieved 
upon their gold ground as if in the air, unless the painter 
have added a little footstool or pedestal. In many cases, 
instead of a living form we seem to have half-animated 
corpses before us, an impression which the sight of the head 
only increases. Here we see at the first glance that a new 
relation has arisen between the painter and his picture. In 
the late Eoman works which we have hitherto been consider- 
ing, however closely the conventional type of the Church 
might confine the painter, still his efforts to express the 
elevated, and even the beautiful, bespeak a certain freedom 

* We allude here, and in the following pages, only to the original works 
of the Byzantine school, not to the copies of older and better works which 
are occasionally mistaken for them. For instance, we must warn our 
readers of plate 62 of D'Agincourt's 'Histoire d'Art,' where a Vatican 
Bible manuscript of the fourteenth century is given as a proof of the 
" apparent resuscitation " of the Byzantine art of that period ; whereas the 
first glance suffices to show that this is only the copy of an excellent early 
work but little inferior to the Book of Joshua we have described, See p. 39. 

E 



50 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

of action ; here, the very object of art was changed in 
character. The Byzantine artist was generally a monk,* 
and as such opposed to the usual enjoyments of life. His art 
partakes of the same feeling, inasmuch as he substitutes 
that which had become his individual ideal for that which is 
universal in human nature. Hence the dryness and 
meagreness of his figures, and, still more so, the gloomy 
moroseness of his countenances. The large, ill-shaped eyes 
stare straight forward ; a deep, unhappy line, in which ill- 
humour seems to have taken up its permanent abode, extends 
from brow to brow, beneath the bald and heavily wrinkled 
forehead. The nose has the broad ridge of the antique still 
left above, but is narrow and thin below, the anxious nostrils 
corresponding with the deep lines on each side of them. 
The mouth is small and neatly formed, but the somewhat 
protruded lower lip is in character with the melancholy of 
the whole picture. As long as such representations refer 
only to grey-headed saints and ecclesiastics, they may be 
tolerated ; that is, when the countenance does not become 
absolutely heartless and malicious ; but when the introduc- 
tion of a kind of smirk is intended to convey the idea of a 
youthful countenance, the only difference being a somewhat 
less elongated face, with the omission of a few wrinkles, and 
the shortening of beard and moustache, this type becomes 
intolerable. Even the Madonna, to whose countenance the 
meagreness of asceticism was hardly applicable, here 
assumes a thoroughly peevish expression, and was certainly 
never represented under so unattractive an aspect. Al- 
together these heads leave us totally unmoved : not only 
because, with all their deeply wrinkled gravity, they appear 
utterly incapable of any exertion of moral will, or energy of 
love or hatred, but equally of any depth of thought. 
Draperies and figures agree perfectly together; nevertheless, 
in the form of the person and in the chief lines of the dress, 
a spark of antique feeling is still discernible. The artistic 
arrangement of drapery which was common towards the end 

* Whether the Emperor Porphyrogemtus (tenth century) pursued the 
art of painting for pastime, or for an exercise of devotion, is uncertain. 
See Luitpran;!, ' Antscpod.,' iii. 37. 



Part II. THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 51 



of the sixth century seems from that time to have been 
arrested. But though the Byzantine artist never bestowed 
a thought in the execution of these portions, or rather was 
incapable of approaching the slightest reality of form, yet, 
as, according to the fashion of the time, the masses had to 
be filled up with an accumulation of detail, so there arose the 
absurdest complication of breaks, and bends, and parallel 
folds, all executed with the greatest neatness, and brought 
out with the utmost heightening of gold. Where the subject, 
however, admitted of no traditional arrangement of drapery, as 
for instance in the richly embroidered and jewel-studded 
costume of Byzantine fashion, all attempt at any artistic form 
ceases, and the garment, with all its gorgeous ornament, lies 
flat and without a fold, as if glued upon a wooden figure.* 
It is unnecessary to remind the reader that these defects did 
not suddenly arise, but crept gradually in. In the eleventh 
century they were at their height, and, in the stiff con- 
ventionalities of later works, we are often reminded of 
Chinese art. In point of fact, Chinese art stands in a 
similar relation to the old Indian as the Byzantine to the 
Roman, only that Chinese painting (uai've as it occasionally 
was) found its climax in a kind of grimacing activity, and 
the Byzantine in an unhappy-looking immobility. The 
forms of the latter do not appear to be impeded, as among a 
primitive people, by want of skill, but by the innate slavish- 
ness and timidity of the artist, who set himself to animate a 
lifeless corpse, and then was afraid of the ghost he had 
raised. 

Under such a complication of adverse circumstances we 
have no right to look for any independence of composition ; 
and whenever we are surprised, as, for instance, in the mosaics, 
with ingenious and symmetrical arrangements, and, as in 
miniatures, with fine and animated composition, and with the 
antique personification of scenery and abstract objects, we may 
safely give all the praise to a foregone period. An art which 

* See D'Agincourt's very instructive miniature of the twelfth century, 
plate 58, where the Emperor Alexius Comnenus I., attired in just such 
a formless and smoothly spread dress, is standing before the representation 
of the triumphant Saviour, whose drapery is treated after the antique, and 
is doubtless imitated from some older work. 

F.2 



52 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

no longer created a single animated figure, but was content to 
borrow a wretchedly disfigured antique motive at tenth hand ; 
that had so accustomed itself to a deathlike stillness of form 
that it dared not even attempt the variety of a profile, was ill 
adapted to venture on new ground. Where this was indispen- 
sable, as, for instance, iu the martyr subjects, which are not 
found in any older works, the thorough powerlessness of the 
art is shown. The ceremonial and procession subjects, con- 
sisting of mere stationary figures, were an easy task : for 
example, the representation of eight persons, all with a repeti- 
tion of the same attitude, lying in the dust before an emperor ; 
or a Synod, showing the patriarchs seated with the emperor in 
a circle, surrounded by numerous ecclesiastics, while a van- 
quished heretic lies prostrate on the floor. But this is not the 
realisation of historical painting, and even in the newly intro- 
duced subjects of martyrdom and crucifixion a regular decline 
of art is obvious, which, in the person of the Saviour, may be 
said to be symbolically expressed. The first known Byzantine 
representation of the crucifixion (ninth century) depicts Him in 
an upright position, and with outstretched arms, triumphant 
even in death. The later pictures show Him with closed eyes 
and sunken form, as if the relaxed limbs had no longer the 
power to sustain the body, which is hanging swayed towards 
the right side. 

But in this degenerate art older as well as newer subjects 
were condemned to endless repetition. In a closer examina- 
tion of Byzantine works in the mass, we arrive at the strange 
fact that the old types were not only, as in antique art, and 
in the art of the western middle ages, reproduced in fresh 
forms, but that one painter absolutely copied from another, 
and that in the most slavish manner ; and that exactly the 
same forms, position, action, and expression, in exactly the 
same arrangement, recur, for instance, in the mosaics of St. 
Mark at Venice, in the Constantinopolitan miniatures, and in 
the frescoes of Greek monasteries ; thus showing, beyond all 
question, the worn-out state of the ground we are treading. 
Not that the blame rests solely with the artists ; the Church, 
inasmuch as she openly assumed the direction and control of 
art, necessitated such a state of things. In one of the argu- 



Part II. THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 53 



ments adduced by an advocate for images in the second 
Nicene Council,* A.D. 787, it is clearly said, " it is not the 
invention (ec/>erpeo-<.s) of the painter which creates the picture, 
but an inviolable law, a tradition (Oea-fj-oOecrta /ecu TrapdSocris) 
of the Catholic Church. It is not the painters but the holy 
fathers who have to invent and to dictate. To them mani- 
festly belongs the composition (Starafts) to the painter only 
the execution (re'xvr/)." If, therefore, the Church had once 
decided upon the most fitting representation of any sacred 
subject, there existed no grounds for ever departing from it ; 
and we shall see, in point of fact, that the Greek painters, 
including those in the Russian Church, to this day scrupu- 
lously submit themselves to this principle ; only it must be 
remembered that no church would have ventured to dictate 
to a really living art, and that the deadness of the Byzantine 
school was as much the cause as the effect of such ecclesias- 
tical interference. The system of copying had begun long 
before the Church interposed its laws. Fortunately for art, 
the holy fathers did not, after 787, altogether prescribe any 
new mode of representation, but permitted the copying of 
those older compositions which had been sanctified by custom. 
Thus frequently it happened that excellent inventions of the 
Constantinian, Theodosian, and Justinian times have been 
preserved, and that of course with more or less truth and 
beauty, according to the proximity in which the copyist stood 
to the original ; copies at fifth and sixth hand being only 
true to the original in general arrangement, and in detail 
strictly Byzantine. Even when the artist has to compose 
afresh he always adheres, in the single figures, to these per- 
petually recurring types, so that only the arrangement, and 
here and there the attitude (the latter often wretched enough), 
are altered. Byzantine art, in short, had degenerated into 
a mere luxuriously conducted handicraft, and precisely on 
that account did it admit of that incredible ease of imitation 
with which we shall become better acquainted in its later 
stages. It was altogether a superficial mechanical art, the 

* Printed in the Acts of this Council (Conciliorum ccllectio regia maxima,. 
Paris, 1714, vol. iv. col. 360), which also contain many interesting facts 
connected with the history of art. 



54 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

subjects for which had, once for all, been definitely fixed ; 
and ultimately, as we shall see, the capacity of the artist was 
only regulated by the number and quality of tracings which 
he had been able to procure from the works of his pre- 
decessors. 

This handicraft continued to be pursued with care and in- 
dustry till into the thirteenth century. "We do this art no 
injustice in regarding, for instance, the treatment of colour it 
displays which, considering the circumstances, was excellent 
also as a mechanical merit ; for as far as imitation of nature 
is concerned there is as little reality intended in colouring as 
in drawing, and the highest possible value that can be assigned 
to it is of a decorative kind. In respect of colouring also, as 
well as of drawing, we must take care not to confound the 
copy with the original : for instance, not to extol the colouring 
of some excellent miniatures of the time of the Macedonian 
emperors as that of the Byzantine school, inasmuch as the 
better part of that quality, as well as of the drawing and 
invention, belongs to the best late Eoman time. Not but 
what the feeling for colour, generally speaking, was longer 
preserved than that of drawing ; and, especially in the mode of 
applying the pigments, there is a skill and precision observ- 
able, which, considering the otherwise absolute deadness of 
the art, is marvellous. Even the colouring materials in the 
miniatures appear to be selected and supplied with chemical 
knowledge. Over the outline which the pencil had traced a 
lively unbroken colour was usually laid, and then lights, 
shadows, and folds inserted, with darker and lighter tints, 
and at last, generally, with delicate hatchings. It is signifi- 
cant of the totally unplastic feeling of that time that the 
gradations were produced by mere strokes, without any 
breadth of shadow. The effect, however, is always particu- 
larly neat. A decided mannerism is earliest traceable in the 
treatment of the flesh tones, which are at first of an orange 
colour, and then of a dark brick-red ; and finally, with their 
well-known green shadows and rosy lights, remind us of 
rouged, but already half-decomposed bodies. Thus, in pro- 
portion as the antique models receded from view, the colour- 
ing became cruder and more motley, and the outlines more 



Part II. THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 55 



apparent, while after the conquest of Constantinople by the 
Crusaders, A.D. 1204, by which the wealth and luxury of this 
city was greatly undermined, there seemed a totally careless 
sketchincss of treatment. Long before that also an unfor- 
tunate vehicle of a gummy description seems to have come 
into use, which soon dulled the colours. The backgrounds, 
the nimbuses, and, after the eleventh century, the high lights 
also, consist generally of gold, which is laid on solidly and 
unsparingly. And, as if the precious metal could not be 
sufficiently brought into requisition, the garments of Imperial 
or holy personages are often entirely of gold materials, with 
splendid embroideries. That use of. gold which might be 
supposed to be applicable to the subject itself, as in the 
representation of the glory of Heaven, is not to be taken into 
account here, for in Byzantine art a gold ground was used 
for every possible occasion. For, as we have said before, it 
is the nature of a simken art to endeavour to make amends 
for its incapacity for all original composition by the splen- 
dour of its materials.* The haggard, morose figures, with 
their brick-red or olive-coloured flesh tones, look, as may 
be supposed, only the more wretched on this account. A 
trace of remaining vigour, perhaps the only change which 
deserves the name of an improvement, was developed in the 
department of decoration. To this period we are indebted 
lor the most splendid arabesques of mixed foliage and 
animals ; rich architectural fancies in margins for manu- 
scripts or pictures, and such-like ; almost all executed with 
the utmost care and neatness. At the same time the more 
natural, and therefore the more consistent, antique mode of 
decoration is here lost in a certain calligraphic conven- 
tionality, which, however, does not exclude a perfectly in- 
telligent mode of treatment. In this respect Byzantium 
served as a model to the image-hating Saracenic art, and 
probably received many an impulse from her in return.f 

* The excessive luxury in other respects, in churches and palaces, with 
which this school of painting was associated, may be gathered from 
Hurter's ' Geschichte Innocenz III.,' vol. i., under the title ' ein Gang 
durch Constantinopel.' 

f The Saracens also borrowed from Byzantium the materials of mosaic 
work, the Arabic name of which, fsefysa, is evidently from the Greek 



56 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 



As regards the only earlier Byzantine painting of a monu- 
mental kind, namely, mosaic work, but few specimens have 
been preserved in the East, and of these we have no illustra- 
tions to refer to, and only very defective notices. There is, 
however, reason to conclude that the splendour of the Justinian 
time was often equalled, if not surpassed. The palatial edi- 
fices of the Emperor Theophilus (829-842) sparkled with the 
richest ornaments. Cinnamus also informs us that, even three 
centuries later, the palace-walls of the richer courtiers were 
decorated with the deeds of ancient heroes, also with battle and 
hunting subjects, in which the valour of the reigning monarch 
in conflict with enemies or wild beasts was made duly pro- 
minent ; though one high functionary, by way of exception, 
ventured in this manner to commemorate the victories of his 
country's arch foe, the Sultan of Iconium. These mosaics 
having all disappeared, we are meanwhile, virtually reduced 
to the Italian mosaics of the seventh century, which are by no 
means to be ranked as thorough specimens of the Byzantine 
style ; we are, therefore, left to decide here and there upon the 
degree of Byzantine influence very much according to our own 
judgment. Whether and how far the prevailing modes of 
thought in Italy were favourable to its intrusion, are questions 
which must be left to their own merits. The common funda- 
mental features of these works can but be estimated by the 
chronological analysis we have already pursued. 

Standing upon the boundary-line between the earlier and 
later styles, we may now mention some mosaics in Rome of 
the seventh century, in which, although we are made aware 
of the existence of a novel element, no distinction can well 
be drawn between the decline of the former and the rise of 
the latter. The most considerable specimens are the 
mosaics in the tribune of S. Agnese fuori le mura, A. D. 
625-638. In the subject itself, connected as it is with the 
gradual alterations in the Church service, we find a sig- 

\i/ij<po>ffis. When, at the commencement of the eighth century, peace was 
concluded between Byzantium and the Caliph Walid, this latter potentate 
stipulated for a certain quantity of fsefysa for the decoration of the new 
mosque at Damascus. In the middle of the tenth century, also, the 
Emperor Romanus II. sent the Caliph Abderrhaman III. the materials for 
the mosaics of the Kibla in the mosque at Cordova. 



Part II. THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 57 



nificant deviation from the general rule. Instead of the figure 
of Christ appears that of S. Agnese standing between the 
Popes Symmachus and Honorius I., the restorers of the 
Church ; while the indication of the Godhead is confined to a 
hand protruding from the heavens and placing a crown upon 
the head of the saint. The execution, in contradistinction 
to the usual neatness of the Byzantine school, is here, as in 
most of the later Koman mosaics, rude and even poor ; a 
circumstance which is not to be wondered at, for Rome stood 
to Byzantium in the relation of a provincial town, and had 
much fallen in the world even in the external means of art. 
The middle tones are at last entirely omitted (in the 
draperies they appear to have been later inserted), the 
vitrified cubes are larger and no longer fit in closely to- 
gether. More significant still than this rudeness of outward 
material is the want of intrinsic feeling which is evident in 
the three figures with their straight folds, only represented 
by dark stripes, their stiff, deathlike attitudes, and the 
staring Byzantine pomp of the saint's garments. The 
already highly conventional heads consist only of a few 
strokes ; the red cheeks of S. Agnese are mere heavy 
blotches ; the floor, it is true, has not quite vanished from 
under the feet of the figures, but it is reduced to the 
smallest indication. The ground, as in almost all succeeding 
mosaics, is of gold. Still plainer indications of the Byzan- 
tine style are seen in the very extensive mosaics in the 
Oratorio di S. Venanzio, a side chapel of the Baptistery to 
the Lateran, A. D. 640-642. In the altar apsis, between 
eight saints, appears the Madonna standing with outstretched 
arms. Above are half-length figures of Christ and two 
angels rising out of gaudy clouds. On the walls, on each 
side of the apsis, are four saints, and above, between the 
three windows, the signs of the Evangelists and of the 
cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Christ and the angels 
are painted rudely, but still with dignity and freedom, and 
remind us, in their tolerably flowing forms, of the period of 
the 6th century. On the other hand, the sixteen saints, all 
standing motionless one beside another, as well as the 
Madonna (who appears for the first time thus positively as 



58 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

their centre), are totally Byzantine. In their garments also 
the folds and shadows are indicated by a mere stripe of dark 
conventional colour, and even in the chief motives there is a 
want of intelligence of which the foregoing century affords 
no example. Similar in style, and almofet contemporary in 
date (A. D. 642-649), are the mosaics of the small altar apsis 
of S. Stefano Eotondo, upon the Coelian Hill, in which a 
brilliantly decorated cross is represented between the two 
standing figures of SS. Primus and Feliciauus. On the 
upper end of the cross (very tastefully introduced) appears a 
small head of Christ with a nimbus, over which the hand of 
the Father is extended in benediction. A single figure in 
mosaic exists as an altar-piece in S. Pietro in Vincoli. It is 
intended for St. Sebastian, and was vowed to the church 
by Pope Agathon, on occasion of the plague in 680, and 
doubtless executed soon after this dato. As a solitary 
specimen of this kind it is very remarkable. There is no 
analogy between this figure and the usual youthful type 
of St. Sebastian subsequently adopted. On the contrary, 
the saint is represented here as an old man with white hair 
and beard, carrying the crown of martyrdom in his hand, 
and draped from head to foot in true Byzantine style. In 
his countenance there is still some life and dignity. The 
more careful shading also of the drapery shows that, in a 
work intended to be so much exposed to the gaze of the 
pious, more pains was bestowed than usual ; nevertheless 
the figure, upon the whole, is very inanimate : the ground 
is blue. In the church of S. Giorgio in Velabro the semi- 
dome of the tribune is now occupied by a fresco, probably 
the copy of a mosaic, and, as probably, the copy of the very 
one which was placed in this church at the time of its 
erection, A. D. 682. The Saviour (copied from the splendid 
figure in the church of SS. Cosmo e Damiano) is standing 
upon the globe of the world, between the Virgin and St. 
Peter, St. George and St. Sebastian. The subordinate 
position of the Virgin here compels us to assign to this 
work an original of the earliest date, for even at this time 
(682), and much more so later, the Virgin with the infant 
Saviour on her knees assumes the central place. 



Part. II. THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 59 

To this period (probably from 671 to 677) belong the last 
mosaic decorations of importance at Ravenna, viz., those in 
the splendid basilica of S. Apollinare in Classe ; which, now 
that the history of art has sustained an irreparable injury in 
the destruction of S. Paolo fuori le mura at Rome, by fire, 
alone give us any idea of the manner in which whole rows 
of pictures and symbols in mosaics were employed to 
ornament the interior of churches. In the spandrils, between 
the arches of the centre aisle, we observe an almost perfect 
collection of those earliest symbols of Christian art, from 
the simple monogram to the Good Shepherd and the Fisher- 
man, which we described at the beginning of this work, while 
above the arch in a row of medallions are the portraits of 
the Archbishops of Ravenna;* of course not the original 
works which, owing to the destruction of the surface of 
these walls by that enemy to art Sigismund Malatesta, Lord 
of Rimini, were entirely lost but apparently correct copies. 
The heads here, as formerly in the pictures of the Popes in 
S. Paolo fuori le mura, are given full in front, the profile 
being totally unknown to that art. The mosaics, however, 
in and above the apsis, are old and genuine remarkable 
relics of that time when the church of Ravenna, in league 
with Byzantium, once more declared itself upon an equality 
with the Roman Church, and sought by paying honour to its 
own patron saint, St. Apollinaris (the scholar of St. Peter), 
to place him upon a level with that apostle. The order and 
arrangement of these mosaics declare this intention in the 
clearest way. They exemplify, namely, the glorification of 
the Church of Ravenna. In the semidome of the apsis, 
upon a gold ground, with light pink and light blue clouds, 
appears a blue circle studded with gold stars and set in 
jewels, and, within this, a splendidly decorated cross with 
a half-length figure of Christ in the centre. On each side 
of the circle are the half4ength figures of Moses and Elijah 
emerging from the clouds, both, on account of their trans- 
figuration, very youthfully depicted. Further below, upon a 

* In the Western Church also there existed a similar work. TLe 
cathedral of Nicaea displayed the portraits of the 318 bishops who presided 
at the council there. 



60 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. ' Book I. 



meadow with trees, in the centre of the whole, stands St. 
Apollinaris, his arms raised in benediction, surrounded by 
fifteen sheep. On the lower walls appear four Ravenna 
bishops, on a blue ground, under canopies with draperies 
and chandeliers, and on each side are two larger pictures of 
the sacrifices of Abel, Melchisedek, and Abraham, and, but 
little in character with the foregoing, the Granting of the 
Privileges to the Church of Ravenna. In all these works 
the drawing is in every way inferior to those of the sixth 
century ; the execution, however, is very careful, with more 
middle tones than usual, the four bishops excepted, who are 
rudely and sketchily treated, and are only distinguished by 
more powerful and less conventional heads. These mosaics, 
though doubtless executed within the shadow of the exarchal 
residence, are less entitled to the term " Byzantine " than 
the Roman works we have just described, inasmuch as the 
figures only partake in the slightest degree of that stiff 
lifelessness which characterises the saints in S. Venanzio 
and others. The draperies, also, in spite of a frequent want 
of meaning in the arrangement, have greater dignity and 
beauty of folds. On the other hand, a sensible decline in the 
feeling for nature is here observable, on comparing the 
long-legged ugly sheep surrounding St. Apollinaris, with 
those in the church of SS. Cosmo and Damiano, or the 
totally conventional-shaped trees with that before Abraham's 
hut in S. Vitale. Nevertheless, the influence of Byzantium 
may be considered to have been here restricted to the 
arrangement alone ; especially as we find a mere saint 
occupying the central place which had hitherto been 
assigned to Christ, while the presence of the Saviour is only, 
as in S. Stefano Rotondo, indicated by the cross. The two 
side pictures of the lower wall merit also a closer examina- 
tion, especially the three sacrifices, which are here combined 
in one really spirited composition, and in point of execution 
are decidedly the best.* Beneath an open curtain, behind a 

* If we consider how habitual the practice of copying had become in the 
late Roman time, we shall hesitate perhaps to assign the invention of this 
work to 671-677. The figure of Abel is, at all events, a direct imitation 
of that in S. Vitale. Too many churches, however, with their respective 
mosaics, have disappeared in Ravenna (th cathedral, the principal church 



Part 11. THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 61 

covered table, sits the venerable white-haired Mclchisedek, 
(type of Christ), in diadem and crimson mantle, in act of 
breaking the bread. On the left Abel is seen advancing, in 
figure of a half-naked youth in linen chlamys, carrying a 
lamb. On the right, Abraham, an old man in white robe, 
is leading his son, who is not represented naked (as in S. 
Yitale), but wears a yellow robe. The corresponding picture, 
the Granting of the Privileges, is slighter, and inferior 
in drawing and execution, so that, for example, the outlines 
of the heads are rudely conspicuous. Three imperial 
youths, with nimbuses, are advancing from a curtained 
door of the palace Constantine, who is clad in the crimson 
mantle, Heraclius, and Tiberius.* On the right, quietly look- 
ing on, stands the Archbishop of Ravenna surrounded by 
four ecclesiastics, one of whom is receiving from Constantine 
a scroll with a red inscription, Privilegia. Here an obvious 
Byzantine stiffness is apparent, as compared with the two 
ceremonial pictures in S. Vitale. Upon the wall above the 
tribune, upon a strip of blue ground, may be seen, glimmer- 
ing through the dust of a thousand years, a half-length of 
Christ with the signs of the Evangelists. These are suc- 
ceeded by the twelve sheep, which are advancing up both 
sides of the arch of the tribune ; two palm-trees are placed 
lower down. Neither animals nor trees are superior to 
those within the tribune. On the other hand, in the figures 
of the archangels Michael and Gabriel, which are introduced 
lower down at the side of the tribune, we find traces of a 
good antique taste. Each is holding in his right hand the 
flag of victory (the Labarum), while the left so grasps the 
crimson mantle, which is faced with embroidered cloth of 
gold, that a part of the white tunic is visible. The heads 
are of youthful beauty. 

In respect, however, both of building and painting, Eavenna, 

of the suburb Classis, &c.), to say nothing of those in Byzantium itself, 
to justify us, without the strongest external proofs, in pointing out 
decided originals in those which still exist. 

* The difficult question as to which of the emperors is meant by this 
name is not ours to solve. In all probability the three figures are intended 
for Constantine Pogonatus, Tiberius 11., and the well-known Emperor 
Heraclius. 



62 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

after the fall of the Ostrogoths, had greatly declined. A pro- 
vincial city of the Eastern Empire had, under any circum- 
stances, no very brilliant history in those times. In addition 
to this, the perpetual attacks of the Longobards had robbed 
the Exarchate of successive portions of territory, till in the year 
782 the splendid suburb Classis was conquered and laid 
waste. Earthquakes also did their part to destroy what other 
evils spared, and, at the present day, with the exception of 
the fine and solitary Apollinaris church, on the border of the 
celebrated pine wood, every trace of Classis has disappeared. 
Finally, after the Franks had snatched the Exarchate from 
the hand of the Longobards and made it over to the papal 
chair, art, in Ravenna, confined itself to a few solitary decora- 
tions and to repairs, and to this latter circumstance solely is 
this little out-of-the-way papal country town indebted for 
the preservation of some early middle-age treasures of art 
such as the whole world cannot furnish elsewhere. 

How far the wars and disastrous events of the eighth century 
had any influence upon art at Rome, it is difficult to decide, 
since, of the numerous treasures that are recorded by different 
writers, scarcely anything has survived. The only specimen 
is a little fragment belonging to the old church of St. Peter, 
A.D. 705, now in the sacristy of S. Maria in Cosmedin an 
Adoration of the three Kings which, though of a barbaric 
negligence in execution, displays a good antique feeling for 
composition. The figures which have been preserved, Joseph, 
the Virgin and Child, and an angel, form an easy group. As 
regards Pope Constantine (A.D. 708-715), we are informed 
by Paulus Diaconus (vi. 34) that he caused the six orthodox 
councils to be painted in the vestibule of St. Peter's (whether 
in mosaic is not said), and, further, that this was done out of 
spite against the monothelite Emperor Philipicus Bardanes, 
who had caused a similar row of council pictures to be 
destroyed in Constantinople. Also in the pontificates of 
Gregory III., Zacharias, and Adrain I., the mosaic decora- 
tions of many churches were devised. In the struggle with 
the Iconoclasts, Rome had zealously espoused the picture 
cause. " The sacred pictures" thus wrote Gregory II. to the 
Emperor Leo at the commencement of the dispute " elevate 



Part II. THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 63 

the feelings of men. Fathers and mothers lift up their child- 
ren to view them. Youths and foreigners point with edifi- 
cation to the painted histories. All hearts raise themselves to 
God." And when, in Byzantium, ecclesiastical art was attacked 
by the sword, the monasteries of Eome granted an asylum to 
whole bands of Byzantine painters. Nevertheless, scarcely 
any influence from this circumstance is to be perceived we 
find, as already said, in the still existing Eoman mosaics, an 
interval of almost a century, and resume them only after the 
pacification of the country under Pope Leo III. (A.D. 795-816). 
This pontificate, so important also in other respects, is distin- 
guished by numerous church repairs and new erections, on w hich 
occasion the application of mosaics is frequently mentioned. 

Unfortunately the apsis mosaic of the Leonine Triclinium 
in the Lateran, so important as being the last relic of the great 
historical subjects in this building, has suffered so severely in 
the attempt made in the last century to transfer it to the outer 
walls of the chapel of the Sancta Sanctorum, that we must 
content ourselves with a copy in mosaic, which, with the ex- 
ception of a few somewhat modernized heads, almost replaces 
the ancient original. Within the tribune, upon a gold ground, 
stands the Saviour in act of benediction, the eleven apostles in 
white robes around Him ; the four rivers of Paradise gushing 
forth at His feet. The figures, in their stiff, yet infirm atti- 
tudes, and still more in the unmeaning disposition of the 
drapery, display a decided Byzantine influence. Here we first 
perceive a totally conventional distribution of the masses of the 
drapery, which, though loaded with meaningless folds (namely 
with bluish strokes of colour), only adheres to the shape of the 
figure. On the walls next the tribune we find those celebrated 
pictures of deep political and ecclesiastical significance, 
which are of immeasurably higher historical value than the 
ceremonial pictures of the Imperial Palace at Constantinople. 
On the left appears the Saviour enthroned, with the kneeling 
figure of St. Sylvester before Him, to whom He is giving the 
Keys, while He extends a banner to Constantino the Great. On 
the right is St. Peter, enthroned, in the act of bestowing the 
stola upon Pope Leo III. and a banner upon Charlemagne, in 
sign of investiture. In both the last-named kneeling figures 



EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 



who are represented in profile, a species of likeness is aimed 
at, only that Charlemagne has been caricatured in the attempt. 
Of the same period is the altar apsis in the church of SS. 
Nereo e Achilleo, underneath the baths of Caracalla. The 
figures are small, and have been greatly restored, but are still 
remarkable in intention. In all mosaics of later date than 
those containing the history of Christ upon the arch of Triumph 
in S. Maria Maggiore, we have observed that same arch deco- 
rated, almost without exception, with apocalyptic subjects, and 
with the symbols of the Evangelists. Here, however, the de- 
coration of this portion is again of an historical nature. The 
transfigured Saviour is in the centre between Moses and Eli- 
jah, with SS. Nereo and Achilleo kneeling on either side ; 
further on the left the Annunciation, and on the right the 
Virgin and Child, accompanied by an angel. The pontificate of 
Paschal I., which succeeded that of Leo III. (A.D. 817-824), 
though short in time, was rich in mosaic works, owing doubt- 
less to the free exercise of art which the maintenance oi 
peace permitted. For any positive advance these were not 
the times ; and equally as we trace in the apparently 
flourishing school of Carlovingian art only the tardy echo 
of the antique, so do we perceive in the Roman works of this 
period only a deeper decline into Byzantine deformity. 
Whether there then existed in Rome a branch school of 
mosaic-workers from Constantinople, and how far this was 
again acted upon from the parent nursery, we do not presume 
to decide. The most splendid and extensive works of that 
pontificate were doubtless the mosaics in S. Prassede on the 
Esquiline Hill. At all events, more have been preserved in 
this church than in any other; viz., those on the arch of 
Triumph, on the arch of the tribune, within the tribune 
itself, and the entire decorations of the chapel of one side 
aisle. The subjects on the arches are, as usual, taken from 
the Apocalypse. Over the arch of Triumph, in the centre of a 
walled space, with gates representing the heavenly Jerusalem, 
is the Saviour between two angels, holding a globe in His 
hand, while on each side of Him are a row of saints offering 
Him their triumphal crowns. Four angels are standing at 
the gates, inviting the concourse to enter, who are represented 



Part II. THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 65 

advancing in solemn procession below, clad in white robes, 
and with palm-branches in their hands. Upon the arch of 
the tribune is the customary representation of the Lamb 
upon a seat decorated with jewels, surrounded with the seven 
candlesticks, four angels, and the symbols of the Evangelists. 
On each side of the arch are the four-and-twenty elders, 
advancing to cast their crowns before the Lamb. In the 
semi-dome (copied from SS. Cosmo e D^miaiio) Christ 
occupies the centre above Him the hand of the Father 
holding a wreath on either side St. Peter and St. Paul, SS. 
Praxedis and Pudentiana, S. Zeno, and Pope Paschal, the 
founder, with a square * nimbus carrying the model of a 
church ; last of all two palm-trees, one of them with the 
same phoenix as in the church of SS. Cosmo e Damiano. 
Further below, the thirteen lambs as usual. (See woodcut.) 
The church not being large for such an amount of subjects, 
the figures are on a small scale, and, owing to the increasing 
rudeness of execution, have a somewhat barbaric effect. The 
folds of the draperies are only dark strokes the faces 
consist chiefly of three coarse lines.f Altogether we 
perceive that the Byzantine art of that time relied upon the 
multitude of its figures for effect, and more and more avoided 
those single colossal forms which it was neither able to 
animate with feeling, nor to fill up with truth of detail. 
Not that anything was gained by the multiplicity of these 
small stiff parallel-placed figures ; on the contrary, they give 
us only the impression of disjointed atoms. As for the 
contemporary mosaics in the side chapel, they may be 
considered as completely barbaric, though, from their 
splendour, they originally obtained the name of the " Garden 
of Paradise." The door is enframed in a double row of 
medallion-portraits in mosaics, which are merely rude 
caricatures. Within, the walls are covered with saints 
and various symbols, without any connection as regards 
their scheme. The only remarkable portion is the Lamb 

* The square nimbus is conjectured to represent one living at the time. 

f See Rumohr's ' Ital. Forschungen,' vol. i. p. 239, where the style of 
these Roman mosaics of the ninth century is for the first time investigated 
with some precision. See also idem, p. 246, vol ii., and Preface, p. viii. 

F 



66 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 



with four stags, with four half-length figures below to 
correspond. Upon the groined roof is a half-length figure 
of Christ, borne by four angels, who in the poverty of the 
artist's invention, are divided in two by the groining of the 
arches. Of the same period are the mosaics of the Church 
of S. Cecilia in Trastevcre, which, in rudeness and multi- 
plicity of figures, correspond pretty much with those we have 
just described.* Within the tribune is seen the Saviour 
again, with five saints, Pope Paschal, and the two palm- 
trees ; this time upon a blue ground with small clouds. 
The thirteen lambs which, usually in the form of a frieze 
decoration, connect the semicircular lower wall of the tribune 
with the semidome above in an agreeable manner, are all 
included on the dome itself, forming a border in no very 
good taste. On the walls of the tribune, till a recent date, 
might be seen the Virgin and Child enthroned between two 
angels and eleven martyrs who are advancing from the two 
cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem ; and, further below, the 
four-and-twenty elders in their accustomed attitudes. But 
the entablature of the vestibule has still its old decoration 
of beautiful gold ornaments on a blue ground and blue 
ornaments upon a gold ground, alternately intersected with 
small portrait medallions showing that the decorative 
parts of an art long survive the decline of all the rest. 
Similar in style to the mosaics in S. Cecilia are those 
in and above the tribune of S. Maria della Navicella (also 
called in Dominica) upon the Coalian Hill. Within the 
tribune appear the Virgin and Child seated on a throne 
with angels ranged in regular rows on each side ; and, at 
her feet, with unspeakable stiffness of limb, the kneeling 
figure of Pope Paschal I. Upon the walls of the tribune is 
the Saviour in a nimbus, with two angels and the twelve 
apostles on either hand, and further below, on a much larger 
scale, two prophets, who appear to point towards Him. The 
most remarkable thing here is the rich foliage decoration. 
Besides the wreaths of flowers (otherwise not a rare feature) 
which are growing out of two vessels at the edge of the 
dome, the floor beneath the figures is also decorated with 
flowers a graceful species of ornament seldom aimed at in 



Part II. THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 67 



the moroseness of Byzantine art. From this point the 
decline into utter barbarism is rapid. The mosaics of S. 
Marco at Rome, executed under Pope Gregory IV. (A. D. 
827-844), with all their splendour, exhibit the utmost 
poverty of expression. Above the tribune, in circular com- 
partments, is the portrait of Christ between the symbols of 
the Evangelists, and further below, St. Peter and St. Paul (or 
two prophets) with scrolls. Within the tribune, beneath a 
hand extended with a wreath, is the standing figure of Christ 
with an open book, and, on either side, five angels and Pope 
Gregory IV. Further on, but still belonging to the dome, are 
the thirteen lambs, forming a second and quite uneven circle 
round the figures. The execution is here especially rude, and 
of true Byzantine rigidity, while, as if the artist knew that his 
long lean figures were anything but secure upon their feet, he 
has given them each a separate little pedestal. The lines of 
the drapery are chiefly straight and parallel, while, with all 
this rudeness, a certain play of colour has been contrived by 
the introduction of high lights of another colour.* 

The greatly restored tribune mosaics of S. Francesca 
Komana (probably A. D. 858-867, the pontificate of Nicholas 
I.) close the group of these Roman-Byzantine works. By 
this time it had become apparent that such figures as the art 
of that day was alone able to achieve could have no possible 
relation to each other, and therefore no longer constitute a 
composition ; the artist accordingly separated the Madonna 
on the throne and the four saints with uplifted hands, by 
graceful arcades. The ground, as in most foregoing mosaics, 
is gold; the glories blue. The faces of course consist 
only of feeble lines the cheeks are only red blotches ; the 
folds merely dark strokes ; nevertheless, a certain flow and 
fulness in the forms, and a few accessories (for instance, the 
exchange of a crown upon the Virgin's head for the in- 
variable Byzantine veil), seem to indicate that we have not 
so much to do here with the decline of Byzantine art as with 
a Northern, and probably Frankish, influence. At the same 

* According to Eme'ric David, page 76, there still exist in the chapd 
of the Sancta Sanctorum, near the Lateran. mosaics of the time of Sergitis 
II. (A.D. 844-847). These, however, were inaccessible to us. 

F2 



68 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

time, if we compare together all authentic works of the time, 
we cannot assign this mosaic to the thirteenth century. Of 
the later works of the ninth century nothing more exists at 
Rome. Those which Pope Formosus contributed to the old 
church of St. Peter (A. D. 891-896) shared the destruction of 
that basilica. In Aquileja, according to all accounts, there 
still exist the mosaics which Gisela, the daughter of Louis 
the Pious, presented to the church. They contain (what is 
most remarkable for that time) a crucifixion, the Virgin, St. 
George, the portrait of Gisela, and various allegorical 
figures. The Cathedral of Capua also possesses mosaics of 
that period, presented by Bishop Hugo. On the other hand, 
" the very beautiful figures " with which the Abbots Potto 
and Gisulf embellished the entire walls of the church of 
Monte Casino have disappeared. 

After the close of the ninth century mosaic art seems to 
have almost ceased in Italy. For seventy years that un- 
happy country had been distracted by ceaseless broils, in 
many instances scarcely less detrimental to its well-being 
than the inroads of the northern tribes. Rome especially 
was the sport of the most terrible factions. Peace was re- 
stored by force of arms under the Othos ; but the deep 
wounds which all intellectual and artistic enterprise had 
sustained did not readily heal again. Wherever, after this, 
art endeavoured to raise her head, the help of Byzantium 
was called into requisition. For example, when Abbot 
Desiderius of Monte Casino (afterwards Pope Victor III.) 
rebuilt the church of his monastery, he was compelled to 
hire mosaic-workers from Constantinople, who instructed 
several pupils in the art. * 

Meanwhile the republic of Venice, which had grown up 
under the nominal protection of Byzantium, had, in the 
general distraction of the country, remained undisturbed. 
This state became the thriving mart for the empires of the 

* We may here mention in addition those mosaics of the choir apsis 
of St. Ambrose at Milan (Christ between two archangels with SS. Gervasius 
and Protasius), recently restored, which are supposed to have been ex- 
ecuted A.D. 832, by a monk of the name of Gaudentius. The execution 
seems more careful, and the figures more animated, than in the mosaics 
of H similar period in Home. 



Part II. THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 69 



East and West ; and even after all political connection with 
Byzantium had ceased, the active commerce which, was 
maintained became a constant bond of union. In point of 
art, however, Venice, up to the thirteenth century, may be 
considered almost exclusively a Byzantine colony, inasmuch 
as her painters adhered entirely to Greek models : her archi- 
tecture partook equally of Oriental and Occidental elements, 
and only her sculpture retained a positive Western character, 
because this alone, in the condemnation which Byzantium 
had passed on all the higher plastic forms of art, could derive 
no assistance from that city. The Venetian mosaics especi- 
ally we may regard as an almost sufficient indemnification 
for those of the Eastern Empire which have been lost to 
posterity, since the characters of undisturbed Byzantine 
descent are much more legible there than, for instance, in 
those Eoman works just described. The earliest existing 
specimens of this kind are the mosaics in the church of 
St. Cyprian in the island of Murano, which were com- 
pleted in the year 882, representing a Christ with the Virgin 
between archangels. With incomparably more force, how- 
ever, is the Byzantine type represented in the church of 
St. Mark, founded A.D. 976, the earliest wall and cupola 
pictures of which go back at least to the eleventh, and 
perhaps even to the tenth century. After the transfer of the 
body of St. Mark the Evangelist from Alexandria to Venice, 
the inhabitants of these isles adopted the lion for their 
symbol, and regarded the sacred remains as the pledge of 
their prosperity. It behoved them, therefore, to decorate the 
church honoured as the resting-place of the saint with all 
the splendour which the wealth of a thriving commercial 
city could bestow. The gorgeous luxury of the mere ma- 
terials of the edifice, to supply which the whole empire of 
the East was ransacked, is well known. The floor, the 
walls, and the pillars, half way up, were covered with the 
most costly marbles, while the rest of the interior upper 
walls, waggon roofs, and cupolas comprising a surface of 
more than forty thousand square feet was covered with 
mosaics on a gold ground ; a gigantic work, which even all 
the wealth of Venice spent six centuries in patching together. 



70 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

Every style of art, therefore, which necessarily flourished 
during this period, down to the lowest mannerism of the 
school of Tintoretto, has been perpetuated in this edifice. 
The general coup d'oeil is somewhat dim and heavy. We 
are reminded that it was the devotion of seafaring men that 
raised the pile ; men who were willing to propitiate the 
favour of Heaven by the richest offerings they could devise, 
and indifferent, in their short intervals of rest, to the higher 
beauties of art, provided the utmost pomp and splendour 
were but attained. As respects our own researches, however, 
it is certain that here alone do we obtain any idea of the 
wealth of mosaics which existed in the State buildings of 
ancient Constantinople. 

In these mosaics of St. Mark it would be difficult to recog- 
nise any consistent or sustained idea. And even if any ori- 
ginally existed, the artists of the different epochs, especially 
since the time of Titian, have not adhered to it. The earliest 
portions also, connected as certain groups and masses may 
appear, show no traces of any plan. In the five large semi- 
circular recesses of the front, appears, by way as it were of 
introduction, the history of the translation of the sacred re- 
mains; and in the semicircular terminations of the upper 
walls, the history of Christ ; which subjects, though of 
modern execution, have taken the place of older works. 
The atrium, which surrounds the edifice on three sides, 
contains, as we often observe in the porches of Gothic 
churches, the history of the old covenant from the Creation 
to the time of Moses (excellent works, which we shall consider 
further) ; and then in a portion of the atrium which has been 
converted into a chapel and baptistery, the history of 
St. Mark, and a multitude of curious symbolical subjects, 
referring to the mystery of baptism. The interior of 
the edifice forms, as is well known, the figure of a cross, 
with five cupolas, each of which rests on four wide massive 
arches ; every two of them constituting a sort of side aisle. 
Rows of pillars, with false galleries half way up the church, 
divide these from the principal cruciform space. The 
descriptive plan on page 72, which, in the multiplicity 
of forms, can only embrace the principal features, will 



Part II. THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 71 



suffice to show how little the opportunity of following up 
the artistic development of a theological design was taken 
advantage of. 

Any sequence of ideas in these representations can only be 
suggested by the spectator himself. In commencing with 
Paradise, the Apocalypse, and the Feast of Pentecost, and 
terminating with the Holy of Holies, Christ and the Pro- 
phets, an exception was made, not only to the then generally 
accepted order of ecclesiastical decoration, but to all the 
more important examples of this kind of later mediaeval 
times. It is only in the history of Christ that we find 
some consistency, though accompanied with numerous repe- 
titions, and executed without any strict reference to the 
principal events. In the innumerable single figures of saints 
we see the commencement of that remarkable order of prece- 
dence which later Byzantine art assigned to them holy 
deacons, hermits, and column saints of all kinds being placed 
here according to their rank. After all, the highest value of 
these works is of an archfeo-liturgical description. Here we 
find, for example, the Ascension, with the Saviour repre- 
sented mounting above the riven gates of Hades, with the 
banner of victory in one hand, and drawing Adam upwards 
with the other. Here alone do we see the guests of the 
Feast of Pentecost, each two and two, in their respective 
costumes the Jews in pointed hats ; the Parthians with bow 
and arrow ; the Arabians almost naked ; and so on. Here 
are the Christian virtues, the acts and martyrdoms of the 
apostles, given with a completeness scarcely found elsewhere ; 
for all the innumerable amount of frescoes belonging to 
Northern churches, which may have exhibited the same sub- 
jects (and those in a much finer form), have vanished, or left 
only the scantiest relics behind. On the other hand, in point 
of artistic worth, the earlier mosaics of St. Mark's (included 
principally in the front, centre, and left cupola, and the con- 
tiguous waggon roofs) are such as to require only a brief 
notice. If, in the Eoman mosaics of the time of Pope 
Paschal L, some trace of freedom and life was still discern- 
ible, here, on the contrary, we perceive in all those subjects 
which are not the obvious copies of older works (as, for 



72 



EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. 



Book I. 



In the Tribune. 

A colossal Christ, with 
four Saints below. 



^ jS Christ, the Virgin, So- L ^ 




*> 

a w 


lomon, and eleven > g" 






<v 

QJ *-^* 


Prophets. In the < sL ^ 






co ^ 


Pendentives the ' 3- S- 






fes J 


symbols of the ^ ^ 






"H 


Evangelists. g *J 






pc 


3. o 4 








i a> 




VF.fl. and W.t 
Miracles and 


Intervening 


W.R. History T . 
of Christ to A*"""** 


W.It. Miracles of 
Christ. 


Acts of Christ 


space. 


the Transfigura- * 


W. Miracles of a 


ending with the 


Angels and 


tion. Ornaments 


Saint. 


Last Supper. 


Saints. 


and Saints. 





T tt n i 

Ze/f C/wpoto. 



Cfcnfre Cupola. 



.'S O & 1 A p .2 Christ with four Arch- 5-2 ? ' t 
0-2 55 ^ % angels, the Madonna > 2 ^ 3 v . ,. , 
<J^A rounded with o s ^ the A t} a"' 5 ' 3 R% 9 ht Cu P la - & 

J 3 ^ t"^ 168 ^ | around, then the " 
g fej fr of the Apos- g ,g Christian Virtues. S 2^ 5' F U1 ', !' U ' 
!* Jf *! es " F, eD J en - 11 In the Pendentives S ^g P^entives, 
S S 5 | t i ve ^' the ur ^ ^ the Evangelists and I- S, four Samts ' ^ 
:.*i3 SuS 0fthe S ^RiveSofPara- ? ^| O | 


^ K- M ^ 


~i 


aise. 


i* r 2. 


r 


W.R. Life of the 


Intervening 




Intervening 


W..R. Biblical 


Virgin. 


space. 


W.J2. The scenes 


space. 


scenes. 


and histories of 
Daniel and Su- 


The Evange- 
lists and 
Saints. 


of the Passion, 
to the Resur- 
rection. 


Christ, the 
Virgin, and 
Saints. 


W. Translation 
of the body of 
St. Mark. 


sanna. 


rt 4) - 




jg 






a -C 


Western Cupola. 


p fr 






M3 f, , 










"S o 

<) 


Descent of the Holy 


zL^< a 

S 3 A 1 






^ 0! 

fe: S 


Ghost, with the 


C at GL 

a - o ^ 








Stranger Nations 


o i 






TS h 

3 >> ^J3 


around. In the 


itj & > 






05 t 2 


Pendentives the 


O jj- 2, S- 






g 1 ^ 


Archangels. 


<" - 
o sr B 






^ 




S" C to P. 






Intervening 


W.R. Scenes 
from the 


Intervening 






space. 


Revelations. 


space. 


* 




The Revela- 




The Revela- 






tions and 


Great Front. 


tions and 






Saints. 


Waggon Roof. 


Saints. 








Paradise. 







W.. Waggon Roof. 



t W. Walls. 



Part II. THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 73 

instance, that very Ascension) an utter extinction of all free- 
dom of form. The figures are, throughout, lifeless shadows, 
looking as if they would fall asunder with the slightest 
movement. Every step the merest stretching forth of a 
hand threatens to overset them, while by the omission of 
the ground under their feet, the last remnant of stability 
seems removed. Of the grand and solemn types of mosaic 
art of the fifth and sixth century, only the meagre and con- 
tracted outlines are left. Christ Himself, a symbol, as it 
were, of the decrepit theology of Byzantium, appears here in 
likeness of an old man, with white hair and beard. On the 
other hand, the execution is delicate and careful, at least in 
those portions which are near the eye. The vitrified cubes 
are small and well fitted, and delicate hatchings of gold and 
other light colours gleam among the stiffness of the drapery. 
Another group of Occidental-Byzantine mosaics exists in 
Lower Italy and Sicily, of the time of the Normans. Of the 
three races which contended in the eleventh century for the 
possession of this territory the Greeks, the Saracens, and 
the Normans the first alone possessed a developed school of 
painting, which the Normans, as conquerors, adopted from 
them ; though in the arts of architecture and sculpture they 
pursued their own course. Even in the earliest Norman 
specimen that has been preserved, namely, the Cathedral of 
Salerno, founded by Robert Guiscard, A.D. 1080, this state of 
things is illustrated in the most remarkable way. The 
building is of the Norman style of architecture, mingled (as 
far as it is not constructed of ancient materials stolen from 
Passtum) with evidences of a Saracenic influence. The more 
important sculptures are, it is true, not of a very animated 
character, but round and soft, in the style of the Western 
School. Indeed, only the mosaics (an altar apsis on the 
right, and a door lunette) and the brazen central gate the 
flat silver inlaid figures of which belong to the department 
of drawing, and not to that of sculpture are, in spite .of the 
Latin inscriptions, essentially Byzantine. The mosaics on 
the altar apsis represent St. Mark seated with the book of 
the Gospels upon the throne ; next to him the standing 
figures of four saints ; above, a winged Christ, in crimson 



74 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

robe, with long sceptre and globe ; all in the same stiff but 
neat style as in the earliest Venetian mosaics. The same 
may be said of the half-length figure of St. Matthew in the 
door lunette. The most splendid specimens, however, of 
this Norman-Byzantine art are the mosaics in the Cathe- 
dral of Monreale, near Palermo (after the year 1174), where 
the centre apsis contains an unusually colossal half-length 
figure of Christ the space around it a crowd of saints 
the arms of the transept the histories of St. Peter and St. 
Paul and finally, the nave, a long row of Biblical events. 
As this edifice was very rapidly completed, more than a 
hundred artists were required for the execution of these 
mosaics, a number which, without the existence of an old and 
long-established school in Sicily, could hardly have been 
supplied. Of somewhat earlier date is the no less splendid 
decoration of the walls of the chapel of King Eoger in 
Palermo (after 1140), and the mosaics of several other 
churches ; S. Maria dell' Ammiraglio ; the Cathedral of 
Cefalu (the last especially remarkable), and many others. 
The hunting- room of King Roger I. in Palermo (about 1100), 
with the somewhat heraldic-shaped animals and ornaments 
upon a gold ground, reminds us of the probably similar deco- 
rations of the Hall of State, called the Margarita, erected in 
Constantinople A.D. 829-842, by the Emperor Theophilue, 
which, with the other numerous palaces of this potentate, 
have disappeared. * As far as we can judge from illustrations 
and descriptions, the same barren, withered style which we 
find in the earlier pictures of St. Mark, is throughout observ- 
able in these Sicilian works. 

In treating of the miniatures of the Byzantine school, we 
may safely curtail our remarks, since a number of excellent 
descriptions and satisfactory illustrations already exist, j" to 
which it will be easy to refer our readers : also, more 
especially, because the best miniatures of the Byzantine 

* The illustrations of all these mosaics, by Serradifalco (del Duomo di 
Monreale, &c.), appear, without exception, to be coloured in a modern 
style. In Hittorf and Zanth's Architecture Moderne de la Sidle, only the 
last page gives us a true idea of the style, and that only in a few examples. 

f See principally Waagen's ' Kunstwerke und Kunstler in Paris,' p. 201, 
and the illustrations in D'Agincourt's ' Histoire de 1'Art,' many of which 
are taken from tracings. 



Part II. THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 75 



time do not actually belong to the Byzantine school, but are 
copies of earlier Roman works, and as such have been in 
some measure already described. Thus, for instance, the 
most celebrated Codices of the time of the Macedonian 
Emperors, now in the Koyal Library at Paris, are copies 
and facsimiles of the best Romano-Christian works. The 
finest and most important miniatures, forty-seven in number, 
are contained in a codex of sermons by St. Gregory Nazianzen. 
Here we find the martyrs, the monarchs, and other dis- 
tinguished personages of a late period, represented in the 
style of the ninth century ; while the other subjects re- 
petitions of the charming compositions of the fifth and sixth 
centuries represent the principal events from the creation 
of the world to the time of St. Gregory. More interesting 
still, from its numerous personifications of natural imagery 
and abstract qualities, in the manner of the antique, is a 
Psaltery of the tenth century,* of which it may be truly 
said that " in no other Greek manuscript has the ancient 
mode of conception been so purely preserved."f Here may 
be seen, under the form of a sublime-looking female, 
" Melody" leaning on the shoulder of the youthful and 
beautiful David. On one side lies the " Mountain," an 
allegorical male figure crowned with a wreath, and with a 
green robe. Farther on is David killing a lion, while 
" Strength," a youthful female figure, is inciting him to deeds 
of valour. Again, at the scene of his anointing, " Clemency " 
is hovering over him. At his encounter with Goliath, 
" Vainglory " is seen fleeing behind the giant, while 
" Strength " is stationed behind David. When portrayed as 
a monarch, " Wisdom " and " Prophecy " encompass him ; 
when as a penitent sinner, " Repentance " is above him. In 
similar manner, under the symbols of antiquely-conceived 

* See illustrations in ' History of Our Lord in Art,' pp. 203-205. 

f Waagen, from whom we borrow these words, does not strictly declare 
these miniatures to be copies of older works, but admits that " in motives, 
forms, costume, and arrangement of drapery, they have quite an antique 
look ;" and remarks further, " that the mode of laying on the colours, 
although broad and full, in the antique style, yet is by no means to be 
compared to the feeling foi; composition displayed in these works." He 
allows also that the beautiful composition of the Isaiah must have had 
" a very early original." 



76 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. BOOK 1. 



male and female figures, are represented " Night," " The 
Desert," " The Bottomless Pit," " The Eed Sea," " Mount 
Sinai," &c., being a semi-heathenish worship of nature and of 
abstract ideas, of which the tenth century of itself was totally 
incapable. On the same principle we might attribute a much 
earlier original still to the rudely executed, but powerfully 
conceived miniatures of " The Christian Topography " of the 
Cosmas (now in the Vatican), belonging to the ninth century, 
where the Eiver Jordan appears as a male figure with an 
urn, were we not corrected in our supposition by the figure 
of a female with succinct drapery and flying veil, which 
represents '' Dancing." On the other hand, the so-called 
Vatican Menologium,* with its 430 splendid miniatures on 
a gold ground (executed for the Emperor Basil, the conqueror 
of the Bulgarians, A.D. 989-1025), is essentially a work of 
that period, and decidedly one of the best known. Eight 
artists, whose name recur from time to time, decorated the 
separate days of this most costly of all calendars (extending, 
however, only to the half of the year) with scenes, from the life 
of Christ, the saints, and the history of the Church the latter 
in the form of Synods.f In the Biblical scenes, traces of 
earlier motives occur,! but the martyrdoms of the Saints 
are really the compositions of the tenth century ; and, 
horrible as many of them are, they do that century great 
credit : for though, in the single figures, we discern a 
great want of life, yet the composition is upon the whole 
well understood, and here and there very animated. The 
saints are here seen suffering martyrdom in various ways ; 
dragged to death by horses, burnt in the red-hot effigy of a 
bull, crucified, drowned, scourged to death, torn by wild 
beasts in the amphitheatre, suspended by the feet, and so on ; 
by which a tolerably correct understanding of action is 
shown, though all idea of anatomy is lost. Drapery and 

* See ' Menologium Grzecum,' 3 vols. 

t The tracings from the above in D'Agincourt's ' Histoire de 1'Art ' are 
somewhat modernised in detail, and not quite trustworthy. 

J It is remarkable that single subjects from the Menologium are 
repeated in the mosaics of the cathedral of Monreale probably because 
this work contained old compositions which had become common property 
in Byzantine art. 



Part II. THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 77 

heads are throughout stiff and conventional, the nude is 
somewhat meagre, and moreover disfigured by an ugly brick- 
red colour the result perhaps of an improper vehicle, 
which has also lowered the colours. Far inferior to these 
are the miniatures of the Dogmatica Panoplia, in the Vatican, 
executed for Alexis Comneuus (A.D. 1081-1118), which are 
only remarkable for stiff, gold embroidered garments, and 
weak, decrepit heads. On the other hand, a collection of 
sermons for the Feast of the Virgin (in the Vatican,) be- 
longing to the twelfth century, in which the initials consist 
chiefly of the figures of animals, contains excellent composi- 
tions, not only of an early character, but also of the character 
belonging to that century, and is remarkable for great beauty 
of decorative ornament. Another important manuscript of the 
time of the Comneni the Klimax of Johannes Klimakus (in 
the Vatican), exhibits in small, highly delicate, and clearly 
drawn compositions on a gold ground, the well-known allegory 
of the Virtues as the steps leading to Heaven, and of the Vices 
as those which lead to Hell. It is interesting here to observe 
the new treatment of the frequently recurring personifications 
of these abstract subjects, which were formerly characterised 
by form and attribute, and generally represented looking on 
in silent dignity, while here they appear only as small male 
and female figures, explained by marginal inscriptions the 
bad qualities, however, being represented as negroes. The 
actions are mostly expressed in a very awkward manner, 
according to some prescribed system. ' 

With the thirteenth century an irretrievable decline in 
technical power and invention ensued. The already elongated 
forms became more attenuated, the drawing utterly feeble, 
the colours gay and gaudy, and the whole execution one 
mere painted scrawl. The symbols of abstract objects the 
last relics of antique art appear seldomer ; and when they 
do, are clad, not in the old ideal costume but in the fashion 
of the period. Justice and Mercy, for instance, are seen in 
the gorgeous apparel of the imperial daughters of Byzantium, 
while portraits of the time of the Palseologi consist of meagre 
heads, and of a mass of ornament intended to represent a robe. 

Of the panel pictures of the Byzantine school much the same 



78 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 



may be said as of the miniatures, only that positive dates are 
here wanting ; while, from the stationary monotony of art 
and its types for so many centuries, no conclusion as to time 
can be obtained. It is true that, previous to the controversy 
concerning images, countless pictures of this kind had been 
executed for the purposes of private devotion chiefly in the 
monasteries but it must be remembered that, in spite of the 
solid nature of the ground or preparation, the wood itself 
would have decayed in the lapse of a thousand years. The 
innumerable Byzantine pictures of Christ, the Virgin, and 
the Saints, now found in Italy,* are almost entirely the 
manufacture of the later periods of Eastern art, and many 
are still more recent. 

Another especial department of Byzantine workmanship 
consists in those gorgeous enamels upon gold, the style of 
which is of course intimately allied with that of the foregoing 
pictures. The Republic of Venice, for instance, ordered for 
St. Mark's the most costly altar-piece that Constantinople 
could furnish, and which is still preserved in that church. 
It consists of a number of delicate gold plates, upon which 
Christ and the Saints, with Biblical scenes, and the Life of 
St. Mark, are represented in an enamel of the richest and 
deepest colours. There being no knowledge (which is 
perceptible in all enamels of mediaeval times) of gradation of 
tints, the lights and shadows are expressed by gold hatchings 
(whether scratched out or laid on, we know not), which it 
requires a microscopic eye to trace. The style, though 
contemporary with the Vatican Menologium, and of the 
highest delicacy of execution, appears to be somewhat stiffer. 
The present decorative framework, perhaps even the order 
of the subjects, belongs to the later Middle Ages. In the 
treasury of St. Mark's, also, there are golden reliquaries of a 
similar workmanship, some of them, perhaps, the fruits of 

* A very instructive collection of such pictures, as well as many of an 
old -Italian kind, have been hung up by the keeper of the Vatican, Monsig 6 
Laureani, in the spaces of the Museo Cristiano. The most important 
is a Byzantine picture of the ninth century, brought into Italy by means 
of the painter Squarcione. It represents the death of St. Ephraim, with 
monks and suffering poor around. In the background are various scenes 
from the life of that anchorite, not without some expression of individual 
variety. The artist's name was Emanuel Tzanfurnari. 



Part II. THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 79 

the pillage of Constantinople (A.D. 1204), of which scarcely 
anything else is extant. When Art is identified with 
materials so tempting to the spoiler, she must renounce all 
hope of descending to posterity. 

As specimens of the State embroideries for which Byzan 
tium was especially celebrated, we may mention, as still 
existing, the so-called Dalmatic of Charlemagne,* in the 
sacristy of St. Peter's at Eonie, on which, embroidered in 
gold and silver, with a few colours on a deep blue silk, are 
contained the Transfiguration behind, Christ in Glory in 
front, saints and angels all round, and, upon the sleeves, the 
Saviour as dispenser of the Sacraments. The very inanimate 
style, and especially the length of the proportions, point, it 
is true, not to the style of Charlemagne, but rather to the 
twelfth century. There is no doubt, however, that later 
emperors, at least on occasion of their assisting at the conse- 
cration of the Pope in the character of Deacons, have worn 
this robe. Ornament and arrangement are admirable, con- 
sidering the space allotted, and the execution is of the utmost 
and truest Byzantine delicacy. But as the Greek service 
admits of no dalmatic, it is to be supposed that the robe was 
ordered by Eome from Constantinople.! 

Finally, we may mention those metallic plates, inlaid 
with silver, with which the wooden doors of churches 
were covered, and which, after the tenth century, were 
not seldom manufactured, partly as commissions from the 

* See engraving, ' Annales Archaeologiques,' vol. i. 

} See an elaborate treatment of this subject, with illustrations, by 
S. Boisse'ree, in the Correspondence of the Munich Academy, 1844. A 
mantle of Henry II., reported to be in the Bamberg Sacristy, is supposed 
to be of the same style. The Emperor received this mantle from Melus, 
Duke of Apulia. Fiorillo, in his ' Geschichte der bildenden Kiinste in 
Deutschland,' assigns this work to an Apulian nun of the order of St. Basil, 
which makes it Byzantine to all intents and purposes. "The composer or 
designer of the figures has mingled up things worldly and spiritual, 
things astronomical, astrological, and apocalyptical, and has even explained 
the constellations." (See the above-mentioned work.) Those gorgeous 
tapestries which are seen as much in Eastern as in Italian churches and 
palaces, suspended from pillar to pillar, seem to be only decorated with 
ornaments and flowers not with figures, or we might expect more par- 
ticular notices of them. The mosaic pictures also of the Royal Palace at 
Ravenna (in S. Apollinare Nuovo) are an argument against the existence 
of figures in such tapestries. Figures were probably first introduced in 
them in Northern art, though not utterly foreign to the South. 



80 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

East, and partly as articles of commerce for Italy ; for 
the North, which at that time possessed a highly deve- 
loped school of bronze casting, had no demand for them. 
The chef-d'oeuvre of this kind, namely, the brazen doors 
of S. Paolo fuori le nmra at Rome, which were executed in 
Constantinople in 1070, have perished in our time. They 
consisted of fifty-four (9 X 6) bronze tablets, inlaid with 
silver wire, representing the Prophets, the Life of Christ, 
and the Apostles, with the martyrdoms of the latter. But 
this description of workmanship, called Agemina, was unfor- 
tunately chosen, for the pale silver threads upon the shining 
brass only permitted of very indistinct outlines, and were 
incapable of any shadowing. It is only in quiet separate 
figures, architecturally divided, that any effect can be thus 
produced ; while in a composition of many figures, a mode of 
drawing which is restricted to so few lines has but a paltry 
and barbaric appearance. This is more especially the case 
in forms of Byzantine origin, with the meagre figures of the 
saints (sometimes thirteen heads long), to whom the slightest 
action seems impossible. Other doors of this kind, for 
example, those of the cathedral of Amalfi (A.D. 1062), of the 
cathedral of Salerno (about the year 1080), &c., contain this 
species of workmanship only in the centre panels, while the 
rest of the door is merely decorated with crosses and vases, 
&c., rudely riveted or soldered on to the surface. It is 
obvious, in such cases, that a few of these costly Byzantine 
tablets having been supplied, the rest was executed by native 
workmen. The entire inner door of St. Mark's at Venice was 
however, cast in Venice itself, and finished up with single 
figures in precisely the same style as those from Byzantium. 
The others are purely Byzantine ; the most delicate among 
them being the right door, which is supposed to have adorned 
S. Sophia at Constantinople. Here the outlines of the 
figures, standing under graceful horseshoe arches, are not 
only more delicately executed, but the architectural frame- 
work, which, in this instance was not supplied at home, but 
is also of Byzantine workmanship, is equally inlaid with 
silver. We need hardly add, that from those portions of the 
doors within the reach of a thieving hand, every morsel of 



Part II. THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 81 

silver wire, and of those small silver pieces which were 
applied to express the face and extremities, has been picked 
away ; thereby giving the finishing stroke to the ghostly 
appearance of the utterly Kfeless figures. 

Thus, by the most rigid adherence to a flatness of repre- 
sentation, Byzantine art avoided the slightest approach to 
the forbidden plastic form, however imperatively the metallic 
material to which it was applied might seem to require it. 
Those altar-pieces and brazen doors which, in the North, 
were worked in the most masterly relief, were here covered 
with a costly and laboured enamel and silver niello. We 
need not wonder, therefore, that the few very flat reliefs 
which this school sometimes ventured to undertake, should be, 
in point of fact, nothing more than pictures transferred to 
marble, assimilating in no way to the intention of plastic art. 
In this respect the Church of St. Mark supplies the most 
remarkable evidence, if we compare its Byzantine sculptures 
with those of a Western origin, of a contemporary or even 
earlier date. We trace the result of these circumstances for 
a long time afterwards in Venice, where, even in the best 
period of sculpture, it appears more dependent upon painting 
than anywhere else ; so that, in more than one instance which 
we could cite, works in relief of the Lombard school have, at 
first sight, struck us to have had paintings for their originals. 

An art thus sunk into the mere outward form of a lifeless 
tradition was, in the highest degree, fitted to be the employ- 
ment of a rude people in whom, besides their deficiency of 
all artistic instinct, there lay the seeds of a remarkable 
manual skilfulness. That which had now become a merely 
mechanical art, was met by a purely mechanical feeling. 
The intercourse carried on by Byzantium, not only with the 
West, but with the Sclavonic North, especially after the 
ninth century, had led to the dissemination of Byzantine 
Christianity, culture, and art in those countries qualities 
which seem the more easily combined when we remember 
that the Byzantine monks were generally artists as well as 
missionaries : while, on the other hand (at least among the 
Eussians), all that was gaudy and brilliant in the Byzantine 
worship, especially its multitude of pictures, was precisely 



82 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 



that which most assisted in their conversion. Thus it was 
that the Bulgarians, a remnant of the Huns on the Lower 
Danube, adopted both the Christianity and the art of the 
Byzantines ; and the little we know of Bulgarian painting 
shows both Byzantine style and motives, only transplanted 
into a savage soil.* A well-known anecdote leads even to 
the conclusion that painting was here employed as an essen- 
tial element in those conversions where preaching and teach- 
ing had failed St. Methodus being reported to have shaken 
the stubborn heart of Bogaris, king of the Bulgarians, by 
means of a Last Judgment, which he painted upon the walls 
of Nicopolis. Not only Bulgaria, but the other countries on 
the Lower Danube, adopted the Byzantine style. In the 
great monastery above Tergovist, a place held nationally 
sacred by the Wallachians, the walls of the church are 
painted t with saints and figures of the old Waiwodes " in a 
more than Greek taste." In a few solitary instances the 
Byzantine school penetrated high up the Danube, even to 
the frontiers of Bavaria. The monastery of the Holy Cross 
in Donauwerth possessed a Greek mosaic picture, represent- 
ing the Madonna with the archangels Gabriel, Michael, 
St. Peter, and St. Paul, and both the SS. John. Bohemia 
even, in the eleventh century, sent a Byzantine representa- 
tion of the Virgin to Bishop Altman of Passau,! though at 
that time it is certain that the religion and manners of the 
West had obliterated all traces of Byzantine influence in 
that country. 

Of greater importance was the conversion of the Eussians 
under Wladimir the Great (A. D. 988), who, with the help of 
innumerable missionaries from Constantinople, succeeded in 
giving a new aspect, outwardly at least, to the religious 

* See D'Agincourt, plate 61, for an idea of the Bulgarian miniatures of 
the fourteenth century, in a Codex in the Vatican. As regards Armenian 
painting, which, besides the Byzantine models, had an early Christian 
tradition for its foundation, we are not sufficiently informed to speak. 
These figures are " stiff and lifeless, flat, without shadows, gaudy in 
colour, and barbaric in costume." See Schnaase. 

t See Walsh's ' Travels through European Turkey.' 

J See Fiorillo's ' Geschichte der zeichneuden Kiinste in Deutschland,' 
vol. i. p. 93. Bishop Altman's picture on wood was no painting, as Fiorillo 
affirms, but a relief in metal or ivory : " tabulam egvegia ccelatura pre- 
tiosain." Vita Altmaui, chap. 29. 



Part II THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 83 



state of his people : this change was chiefly effected by the 
institution of bishoprics, monasteries, and schools, as centre 
of which arose the splendid metropolitan church of Kieff. 
The Russians received the new doctrines with superstitious 
humility, and the new art Avith all the ingenuity and love of 
imitation which distinguish the Sclavonians ; and to this 
day have done as little to raise either the theology or the 
painting with which Byzantium endowed them. If, in more 
recent times, the higher classes of Russia have adopted the 
views and practice of art belonging to modern Europe, this 
in no way affects the great mass of the people, among whom 
religion and painting, whether owing to any national 
deficiency of capacity, or to the despotic form of government, 
or to the long-continued Mongolian yoke, have both re- 
mained only an impoverished and barbarized Byzantine 
tradition. One chief cause to which this may be attributed, 
as with the modern Greeks also, is the religious prejudice 
by which the style of art prevailing in the tenth century 
was honoured as something essentially belonging to and 
indivisible from the sacred subjects of Christianity ; so that 
every exercise of individual power and genius is interdicted 
to the Russian artist. Thus the picture itself became sacred 
because its established forms were sacred ; and this is why 
the common Russian, to this day, thinks that he can never 
have pictures enough, rich peasants possessing whole 
collections of them. The picture is a fetish, to be had for 
money, which is indispensable in every room, and which the 
lowest soldier takes to battle with him. The churches are 
covered from floor to roof with pictures ; but the chief 
splendour is concentrated upon the screen, or " Iconostasis," 
that high partition with three doors, entirely behung with 
pictures of the saints, which separates the altar from the 
rest of the church, and is the most distinguishing mark of 
the interior architecture of a Russian place of worship. 

It is easy to comprehend that those pictures which, in 
point of time, stood nearest to their Byzantine originals, or 
were even executed by Byzantine artists, were the bast ; as 
for instance the frescoes belonging to the church of S. 
Sophia at Kieff, founded 1037, where, besides these, some 

G2 



84 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book L 



mosaics are also found, of which scarcely an instance occurs 
later. In the course of centuries, which, however, did not 
elapse without renewed influence from the declining parent 
school in the East, forms and colours became ruder and 
more unmeaning, till at length the last remnant of life 
departed from the art. A certain amount of the technical 
habits of the West has now found its way into the more 
modern Eussian sacred pictures, and contrasts strangely 
with the rigidity of their general forms. But this tendency 
can be but little indulged, for private piety no less than 
the laws of the state* require the artist's adherence to the 
ancient mode of representation, and this decidedly aimed at 
the gloomy and sombre. We therefore see in these Eussian 
paintings a dark brown colouring, elongated heads, mummy- 
like hands, and a gaudy drapery ; that is, where, instead of 
the latter, a robe wrought in a species of relief and embossed 
with gold and silver, is not spread over portions of the 
picture : this is especially the case on festivals. The effect 
thus produced is something perfectly spectral, inasmuch as 
the garment introduced in the mode described is of a plastic 
nature, while, from a doctrinal aversion to all plastic re- 
presentation of the human form, the dark-coloured nude is 
kept as flat as possible. It is precisely this combination, 
however, frightful as it is, which operates upon the senses of 
the worshipper, and corresponds with his idea of divine and 
saintly majesty. This mode of treatment here, as well as in 
the Byzantine school, is intimately associated with the fact 
that the artists are chiefly monks and nuns, and that most 
monasteries are manufactories in which pictures are merely 
mechanically produced. As the Byzantine workmen de- 
pended chiefly on tracing, so the operation of stencilling is 
here the principal auxiliary. 

It only remains for us now briefly to sum up the later and 
present fate of Byzantine art. From a people so wretched 
as the Greeks formerly were under Turkish dominion, no 
one could well expect the practice of art in its higher sense. 

* In the year 1551 a Grand Ducal Decree was issued requiring all 
sacred pictures to be painted like those by Andrew Rub!e/, a monk who 
lived towards the close of the fourteenth century. 



Part II. THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 85 

For more than a century, every Greek boy who showed any 
talent or energy was regularly marched off to the Janissary 
barracks in Constantinople. Nevertheless, we can but 
admire a people who, under such oppression, could still 
maintain the old tradition of art, whatever that might be. 
It may be readily supposed that the Turkish sway, and also 
the slight yet unavoidable influence of Italian art, must have 
caused some change ; still the spirit of the school is to this 
day essentially Byzantine, setting aside, of course, the 
academic efforts of the late few years. Partial improve- 
ments in colouring and in disposition of drapery, chiefly 
derived from Italian examples, form a strange and motley 
contrast with the ever lifeless and constrained forms and 
composition, while such pictures as are painted without 
these foreign influences interest us, at all events, as genuine 
specimens of the Byzantine school.* 

A modern traveller, Didron, the French archaeologist, who 
has devoted himself con amore to the investigation and study 
of the Byzantine element of art, made researches in 1839 
into the state of painting in Greece, Thessaly, and Mace- 
donia, in order to throw that light upon the subjects of 
symbolism and iconography especially, which our Western 
churches, in the white-washed and imperfect state of their 
walls, no longer afford. The following, as far as they affect 
our object, are the results he arrived at : 

Mosaic work is now seldom heard of, being a costly 
species of work, which necessarily declined with the ruin of 
the people. Those mosaics which are seen in the monastery 
churches of Daphne near Athens, of St. Luke upon Mount 
Helicon, and in the church of the Basilians, built by the 
Emperor Constantino Monomachus upon the island of Chio, 
belong to the earlier Byzantine time ; and only the 
monastery of Megaspileeon, near Patras, possesses mosaics of 
the seventeenth century. Otherwise, works existing else- 
where, and such as are now executed, are restricted chiefly 
to frescoes and pictures on wood, while the department of 
miniature seems to have greatly declined since the intro- 

* The paintings in S. Giorgio de' Greci in Venice give a view of modern 
Greek art from the fourteenth century down to the present day. 



86 EARLY CHRISTIAN ART. Book I. 

duction of printed books. The incredible quantity of 
frescoes is especially a subject of astonishment. The 
churches, compared with those in the West, are small, but 
very numerous, and are entirely covered with frescoes, the 
innumerable figures of which embrace the utmost possible 
range of ecclesiastical subjects. Thus the one single 
monastery church of the Panagia Phaneroumene, upon the 
island of Salamis, contains no less than 3724 figures, painted 
jointly by Giorgios Markos, a native of Argos, and his three 
pupils, and completed in 1735. Observation soon proves 
that the separate subjects are repeated in many churches 
without any change ; nevertheless the unexampled quantity, 
however hard and slight the execution may be, presents the 
most striking coup d'ceil. Didron's astonishment increased 
as he visited the sacred mount Athos, with its 935 churches, 
chapels, and oratories. Not only did he find them, one and 
all, filled with frescoes, but in one of the monasteries he had 
the opportunity of witnessing the excessively rapid and easy 
mode in which they are produced the monk Joasaph and 
his five assistants having painted a Christ and eleven 
apostles, the size of life, before his eyes, within the space of 
an hour : this also without cartoons or tracings. One pupil 
spread the mortar on the wall, the master drew the outline, 
another laid on the colours and completed the forms, a 
younger pupil gilt the glories, painted the ornaments, and 
wrote the inscriptions, which the master dictated to him by 
memory ; and, lastly, two boys were fully occupied in 
grinding and mixing the colours. It follows that, with a 
rapidity of execution thus far exceeding all Western practice, 
a whole church may be painted in a few days. The only 
question is, what are the conditions of such a power of 
production, and this enigma is soon explained. The modern 
Byzantine painters, namely, require to bring no thought 
whatever of their own to the task. Not only the range of 
their subjects, but the mode of representation, even to the 
smallest details, is all supplied to them by tradition and old 
patterns. They begin with making tracings from the works 
of their predecessors, and by degrees learn every composition 
and figure, with their accompanying accessories, so entirely 



Part II. THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 87 



by heart, that, like the painter Joasaph, they work with the 
utmost rapidity, and without the slightest exertion of thought. 
The stamp of individual genius or character would be here 
only a hindrance, and would be as little appreciated as 
understood. In Greece a painter is quickly forgotten, even 
if he have painted fifty churches, because he is only the 
instrument of one common process, and his own personality 
lias nothing to do with his works. Indeed the artists of the 
Sacred Mount (Hagion Orosj themselves complain of this 
rapidity of production as a source of corruption, and refer 
with regret to the good old times, when painters did not 
invent one whit the more, but copied with more care and 
industry than now. 

Here lies, then, the fundamental difference between Byzan- 
tine and Western mediaeval art. It is true that the last ad- 
hered, in her ecclesiastical subjects, up to the fourteenth cen- 
tury, to certain compositions and motives, and in single 
figures to certain types which perpetually recur, by which 
means we may safely infer that the large amount of labour 
which was required for the decoration of churches and 
cathedrals was greatly lightened, while, probably for the 
same reason, the name of the individual artist was seldom 
known. But the Western artist, if he so desired, retained 
not only a great freedom in arrangement of subject, but 
also created every single figure anew. Head, action, 
and drapery belong to him alone, and are evidences of his 
artistic personality, not of a tradition independent of 
himself. 

That this tradition, in the case of Byzantine art, should at 
last have lapsed into mere written directions for all periods, 
can be no matter of surprise. In point of fact, Didron found 
in the hands of the monks of Mount Athos several copies of 
a manuscript containing a close description of the technical 
process, and explaining single figures, with the mode of their 
grouping, their distribution on the walls, and all accom- 
panying devices and inscriptions ; this being probably that 
identical ' Explanation of Painting '* (ep^vct'a TJ}S a>ypa</>- 



* Published under the title ' Manuel d : Iconographie Chre'tienne, Grecque 
et Latme, avec une introduction et des notes par M. Didron, &c. ; traduit 



88 JiAKLY CHRISTIAN AK'l. Book I 

1*075), compiled in the fifteenth century from older docu- 
ments, without which the monks, according to their own 
confession, could not have continued the art of painting. 
The author or compiler of the manual was the monk Dion- 
ysius, of the monastery of Furna, near Agrapha, assisted by 
his scholar Cyril of Ohio. The spirit which dictated this 
work is sufficiently expressed by the instruction with which 
it opens, " How tracings should be made." Then follow 
directions for the preparation of the walls, the nature of the 
materials, the grinding of the colours, and the mode of 
laying them on. The second, and by far the most important 
part, gives recipes for the representation of every possible 
figure and scene, many of which either never occurred in 
our Western churches (being peculiar to the Greek form of 
worship), or no longer exist there. Some of them are : 
" The Assembly of all the Saints," " The Ladder of Salvation," 
"The Seven Synods," and whole classes of Saints; for 
instance : "The 72 (70?) Disciples," " The Holy Anargyres, 
or despisers of money," " The Stylites, or Column Saints," 
" The Sacred Myrrh Bearers," and, finally, a considerable 
number of well-known Saints here grouped together under 
the name of " The Sacred Poets," among whom appears St. 
John the Evangelist. The third part, or the disposal of the 
frescoes on the walls of churches and monasteries, does not 
present the interest we expected, as it especially confines 
itself to the disposition of Kussian churches. Nothing, also, 
is to be found respecting the different schools. The author 
dwells with much stress upon the esteemed pictures of the 
monk Manuel Panselinos (who died in the eleventh or 
twelfth century), of the city of Thessalonica, where Dionysius 
himself learnt the art, and where, to this day, good old 
pictures exist. On Mount Athos, also, Panselinos is still 
considered the real founder of the present style of Byzan- 
tine painting. No mention is made of Constantinople. 
Probably the manuscript was not written until after the 

du Manuscrit Byzantin, le Guide de la Peinture,' par le Dr. Paul Durand : 
Paris, Impr. Royale, 1845. A copy of the Greek original is in Munich. 
In the numbers of his ' Annales Archeblogiques,' Didron has given some 
account of various churches in Greece, with their frescoes, without, how- 
ever, fully describing the style. 



Part II. THE BYZANTINE STYLE. 89 

Turkish conquest. For the last few centuries it is certain 
that Mount Athos has been alone entitled to rank as the 
general academy of Greek art, inasmuch as almost every 
artist has pursued his studies there, and a countless number 
of pictures on wood are imported thence as articles of com- 
merce, to Greece, Turkey, and Eussia. If we consider, also, 
that the tradition of art has, according to all evidence, ex- 
isted on this sacred mount in one unbroken course since the 
sixth century, we shall feel that thirteen hundred years 
entitle this school of religious artists, whatever be its style, 
to a certain degree of respect, although precisely that 
quality has preserved it in life which has proved the ruin of 
Western schools of art, viz., the inflexible adherence to con- 
ventional forms. 

It is a remarkable fact that the Byzantine style of art, even 
in these times, is congenial to the feelings of certain Western 
races, who with small knowledge and great devotion, find in 
these strange and dismal pictures fitting incentives for their 
zeal. A genuine Byzantine Madonna picture, or one executed 
in the same style, with dark face and stiff gold garments, will 
everywhere most readily obtain the repute of a miraculous 
picture an honour seldom bestowed on the most finished 
work of art. In those parts of Italy where the Byzantine 
dominion lasted the longest, the cultivation of the stiff 
Byzantine type, for popular devotion, was maintained in juxta- 
position with that of the most perfectly developed form of 
painting.* In Venice, as late as the last century, painters 
of "sacred pictures" still existed; and in Kaples, to this 
day, a lemonade seller will permit none other than a Byzan- 
tine Madonna, with olive-green complexion and veiled head, 
to be painted up in his booth. We here stand upon ground 
to which Titian and Bibera, with all their influence, have not 
yet penetrated. 

* The Museum of Berlin possesses a Pieta of the fourteenth century, 
which has been translated from a picture by Giovanni Bellini into the 
Bvzantme stvie. 



90 ART OF THE MIDDLE AGES IN ITALY. Book II, 



BOOK II. 

THE ART OF THE MIDDLE AGES IN ITALY. 
PAET I. 

THE ROMANESQUE STYLE. 

ITALIAN art in the eleventh century was divided between the 
native and the Byzantine styles the one as utterly rude as 
the other was deeply sunk. Upon the whole, however, the 
Byzantine had the ascendancy. But after the close of the 
eleventh century, that epoch of national prosperity dawned 
upon the distracted country, which sooner or later, never fails 
to infuse into art a fresh and higher life. The Eoman Church 
arose from a long-continued state of degradation, for which 
she was herself partly accountable, to be mistress of the West. 
She reinstated Eome as the centre of the world, and restored 
to the Italians a sense of national existence ; at the same time 
a new social element, consisting of the free townships which 
had maintained their rights successfully against all aggres- 
sion, was now called into being in Upper and Lower Italy. 
Slowly, but unmistakably, we now trace the rise of a new and 
independent style in art, which, by the thirteenth century, 
had assumed a greater decision of character. The progress 
of particular departments of this development is, however, 
entirely hidden from us. We only perceive that earlier or 
later, according to the local conditions of each district, the 
Byzantine style and the old native Longobardian became 
amalgamated into a new whole first one, and then another 
constituent feature predominating, but always governed and 
impelled forward by the same new tendency. The Byzantine 
style was, at that time, so utterly sapless and withered, even 
in its native land, that it could as little resist as rival the 
innovating principle, though individual painters occasionally 



Part I. THE ROMANESQUE STYLE. 91 

made the attempt. Piece by piece it gradually crumbled 
away; features, extremities, drapery, composition, and action 
underwent a gradual, and often very irregular transformation. 
And here the term " Romanesque " becomes applicable, for 
now it was that in Italy also the metamorphosis of the 
antique tradition into the spirit of the newly created nation- 
ality first took place. The epoch of Byzantine art in Italy 
may be said to have borne the character of an intermediate 
school only, introduced and upheld by external circumstances. 
This we may justly assume from the evidence of Italian 
sculpture, which, even in the eleventh century, with all its 
rudeness and barbarity, still agrees in principle with the 
Gothic Romanesque. Even the conquest of Constantinople 
by the Latins in 1204, though it was the means of pouring 
into Italy a number of Byzantine artists and works of art, 
occurred too late to arrest the change. Contemporary with the 
same works in which the influence of these last emigrants 
from the East is supposed to be discernible, arose others in 
which a very considerable progress in the new tendency 
may be discovered, and much earlier even than this may be 
traced, at all events, the first germs of a purely Western 
Italian mode of conception. 

Upon the whole, it must be admitted that the Italian exam- 
ples of the eleventh and twelfth centuries fall short of those of 
the same period in the North, which, considering the confusion 
of all the political relations of Italy, and the comparative 
prosperity of the countries on the other side of the Alps, need 
not surprise us. But at the same time we should do wrong to 
form our judgment from a few manuscripts which are here 
made the criterion of comparison, and which, as works of an 
inferior kind, can lead to no strict conclusions. In the prime 
of a period of art, manuscripts may perhaps be admitted as 
safe evidence, but not so in the time of its decay ; for, 
dependent as this species of decoration necessarily is, it 
cannot always enlist the best artistic resources in its service. 

One of the old manuscripts from which the art of this period 
has been estimated exists in the library of the Vatican. It 
contains a poem by one Donizo, in praise of the celebrated 
Countess Matilda of Tuscany, and is decorated with rudely 



90, ART OF THE MIDDLE AGES IN ITALY. Book II. 



coloured pen-drawings, of an historical nature, of the latter 
end of the eleventh century.* The outlines here are in the 
highest degree feeble and uncertain, the colouring utterly rude 
and blotty ; the expression of the artist's intention, however, 
though confined to simple and awkward actions, not so entirely 
despicable. Somewhat better are the miniatures of a so-called 
" Exultet," partly of liturgical, partly of symbolical import,f 
in the Barberini Palace at Rome. Though form and arrange- 
ment are here essentially of the stiff symmetrical order, yet 
the details throughout are of the native Italian character, and 
thus, though in the highest degree rude, they are not dry 
and inanimate, like those of the Byzantine school. Equally 
partaking of both styles, we may mention also the wall paint- 
ings with the date 1011 (?) in the church of S. Urbano at 
Rome, generally designated II Tempio della Caffarella.J 
These represent the Passion, a glorified Christ, and the legend 
of St. Urbanus, chiefly in a relief-like, and sometimes very 
tolerably conceived arrangement, which indubitably places 
them upon a par with many contemporary Northern works. 
The immoderate length and leanness of the proportions, and 
the unmeaning character of the drapery, betray the Byzantine 
influence ; while, on the other hand, the comparative anima- 
tion of the composition, and the speaking though clumsy 
action, give evidence of a power already considerably in 
advance of the other. Drawing and artistic execution are in 
every way defective. 

We now trace the development of Italian art far more 
decidedly in some works of the twelfth century. The Basilica 

* See D'Agincourt, plate 66 ; and, for notices of some Italian miniatures 
of the ninth and tenth centuries, Waagen's ' Kunstw. und Kiinstler in 
Paris,' pp. 260 and 267. 

f See D'Agincourt, plate 53. 

j Ibid., plate 94. These wall-paintings are now scarcely discernible. 
We pass over the no longer existing frescoes of other Roman churches 
which have been described by Ciampini and Bosio ; also those scarcely 
visible and probably very ancient remains in S. Sylvestro ai Monti, in 
Rome. See plate 105. 

Other relics of this period are enumerated by Rumohr (' Ital. Forsch- 
ungen,' vol. i. p. 240), whose too fastidious verdict, however, we cannot 
possibly subscribe to. Why he should assign the paintings in S. Urbano 
to the twelfth century is not easily accounted for. As far as any opinion 
can be formed of them in their present state, we know of no argument for 
not supposing them to be from one to two centuries earlier. 



Part L THE ROMANESQUE STYLE. 93 

of S. Maria in Trastevere at Borne still possesses its mosaics 
of the time of Innocent II. and Eugenius III. (A.D. 1139- 
1153). In the large recess formed by the front may be seen 
the Virgin upon the throne ; before her kneel the very 
diminutive figures of both the above-mentioned Popes, while 
on each side ten female saints are seen advancing, eight of 
whom are distinguished as supposed martyrs, by their crowns, 
and basins with streaks of blood.* The very slender pro- 
portions and the mode in which portions of the drapery are 
loaded with ornaments, though devoid of all folds, are relics 
of the Byzantine school, while the simplicity and comparative 
purity of style noticeable in the flowing arrangement of other 
parts show signs of Gothic feeling. The mosaics, however, 
within and around the tribune of the choir, are more im- 
portant. Christ and the Virgin, here, for the first time, seen 
in this juxtaposition, are seated upon a magnificent throne, 
His arm laid upon her shoulder. On either side are six 
saints with Pope Innocent ; below, on a blue ground, are the 
thirteen lambs. Above the tribune are the usual symbols of 
the Evangelists with those of the Apocalypse ; next these, on 
a larger scale, are Isaiah and Jeremiah unfolding their scrolls ; 
below each of these, two genii extending a cloth filled with 
fruits, birds, and vessels, almost in the spirit of later Pagan 
art. Here the release from the trammels of the Byzantine 
school is obviously far advanced ; and this may be considered 
as perhaps the first purely Western work of a higher order 
produced by Italian art. We are here agreeably surprised 
with free and original motives, and even with admirable 
attempts at individual character, while the conception of the 
two principal figures is perfectly new. The proportions are 
rather short than long ; the forms not angular, but soft and 
round ; the robe of Christ especially is distinguished by 
great dignity and beauty of arrangement. The Prophets, in 

* These are generally taken for the wise and foolish virgin?, because 
their basins or bowls have somewhat the form of lamps. The style of 
these mosaics certainly di tiers from those in the interior, but still indicates 
the period of the twelfth century. Later, i. e., after 1300, Pietro Cavillini 
is supposed to have decorated the facade of this church with mosaics, which 
no longer exist. But that the statement of Vasari in no way refers to 
these is proved bv the authentic works of Cavallini. 



94 ART OF THE MIDDLE AGES IN ITALY". Book II. 



their animated, half-advancing position, exhibit also a totally 
new, however imperfect, idea of the principles of the human 
form. At the same time, the rudeness of the execution, the 
outspread form of the feet, and the unmeaning character of 
particular portions of the drapery, show how deep had been 
the decline from which art was now endeavouring to rise. 

The tribune mosaics of the beautiful Basilica of S. Clemente 
in Kome, which also belong to the first half of the twelfth 
century, afford us the proof that painting here, as in the 
Romanesque period of Gothic art, assumed, in its conformity 
with architecture, the character of a decoration. The semi- 
dome of the tribune a gold ground is filled with the charm- 
ingly arranged branches of a vine, from the centre of which 
springs a crucifix with twelve doves. On either side of the 
cross are the Virgin and John the Baptist ; below, at the roots 
of the vine, are the four streams of Paradise, at which 
peacocks and stags are refreshing themselves ; upon and be- 
tween the boughs are birds and small human figures, among 
them the four Fathers of the church. Below the semidome, 
as usual, are the thirteen lambs ; on the upper part of the wall 
a bust picture of Christ and the symbols of the Evangelists ; 
then on each side, seated contiguously, a saint and apostle ; and 
further below, on each side, a prophet.* In lieu of the Byzan- 
tine mode of crowding the spaces, without any regard to archi- 
tectural eifect (as in S. Prassede), we observe here an agree- 
able simplicity of arrangement. The figures, in manner and 
proportion, resemble those in S. Maria in Trastevere, and, like 
those, are of a thoroughly Western character. The four seated 
figures, especially, are distinguished by a lively character 
which we seek for in vain among the Roman mosaics of a 
foregoing period. And, by the commencement of the thir- 
teenth century a period when the Roman church attained 
great power under Innocent III. the influence of Byzantine 
tradition, as far as regards single works of art, seems to have 
been entirely overcome. We may cite the carved doors - of 
S. Sabina, on the Aventine Hill, as an instance, though, as 
belonging to the department of sculpture, they are hardly a 

* The Apostles upon the wall of the choir tribune can, in their present 
state, only pass for the works of Giovenale do Orvieto, about 1400. 



Part I. THE ROMANESQUE STYLE. 95 

legitimate criterion.* In other respects slight indications of 
the old and apparently forgotten school of the East are trace- 
able through the whole century. For example, the gigantic 
mosaics of the choir tribune of S. Paolo fuori le mura 
(greatly restored) are less free from Byzantine influence than 
the works we have just described, though undertaken as late 
as 1216-1227, under Honorius III., and not completed till 
the close of that century. In the semidome is seen the 
Saviour enthroned between St. Peter, St. Luke, St. Paul, and 
St. Andrew, with the very diminutive figure of Honorius kneel- 
ing at His feet. Farther below, on the wall of the tribune, 
are the standing figures of the Apostles with scrolls (con- 
taining the articles of the Apostolic Creed) and palm-trees. 
The heads and garments still display much of Byzantine 
feebleness : the general proportions and the chief motives, 
however, indicate a pleasing return to the great models of 
early Christian date, which, altogether, had far more influence 
upon this period of reviving art than those of the remoter 
antique times. Instead of lifeless masses of figures piled 
together, we are here refreshed with few and simple forms. 
At the same time it is possible that these mosaics may be 
merely the repetition of a former set occupying the same 
locality as early as the fourth century. The numerous 
paintings which once decorated the walls of this church were 
destroyed by the fire of 1823.f The same fate befell the 
mosaics of the west facade, executed by Pietro Cavallini in 
1300. The side chapel of the transept, called the Oratorio 
di S. Giuliano, which was preserved, contains numerous 
figures of saints, probably of the twelfth or thirteenth cen- 
tury, but greatly overpainted. A certain criterion, however, 
of the state of painting under Honorius III. may be formed 

* The same dramatic liveliness of action which distinguishes this work 
appears to have been peculiar also to the now obliterated wall paintings 
(scenes of monastic life) in the abbey Alls Tre Fontane ia Rome, also erected 
in the time of Innocent III. See some slight illustrations in D'Agincourt, 
plate 97. The paintings in the vestibule were by another and inferior 
hand. 

f They belonged, at all events in part, to the time of Benedict VIII. 
(1012-1024). The illustrations given in D'Agincourt, plate 96, indicate 
a style which greatly resembles the wall-paintings of S. Urbano, and 
would strengthen the evidence in favour of thoir great age. 



ART OF THE MIDDLE AGES IN ITALY. Book II. 



from the wall pictures in the vestibule of S. Lorenzo fuori 
le mura, near Rome,* which are partly of legendary, partly 
of historical import for instance, the communion and coro- 
nation of the Latin Emperor of Constantinople, Peter de 
Courtenay, 1217. In spite of original rudeness and repeated 
overpaintings, we still perceive in many single figures a pic- 
turesque arrangement, an animated expression, and a feeling 
for significant rounding, which appear to promise a speedy 
and higher development. 

Nevertheless, full eighty years elapsed before this develop- 
ment made any further progress. Even the contemporary 
wall paintings in the interior of the same church are incom- 
parably smaller and inferior ; and, as to the small mosaic 
subjects in the frieze of the vestibule, they may fairly rank 
as the rudest and most wretched specimens of this line of 
art that Eome contains. Many other works also of Roman 
painting are more feeble and undeveloped than those of the 
period just before them. The wall-painting in the Sylvester 
Chapel near the church of the SS. Quattro Coronati at 
Rome, executed about 1245, exhibits an obvious retrograde 
movement. The figures are systematically arranged and 
placed together in true Byzantine fashion, so that the same 
intention repeats itself in the whole series. The heads also 
belong decidedly to the same school, though the mosaics in 
S. Maria in Trastevere seem already to have cast it off. The 
subjects of those in the Sylvester chapel refer chiefly to the 
legends of the pope of that name. The mosaics also of two 
small recesses in S. Costanza, near Rome, built by Alexander 
IV. (1254-1261), representing the Saviour with two Apostles 
and four sheep, and again seated upon the globe of the world 
with palm-trees and one Apostle, are very rudely executed, 
and scarcely equal, in composition, the mosaics of S. Clemente, 
which are above a century earlier.t Here we must also 
mention the great mosaics in the front of the Duomo or 

* See D'Agincourt, plate 99. The four larger figures have been some- 
what modernized by the engraver. In the interior, next the chief door, 
on the right, may be seen a Madonna, painted upon the wall Byzantine in 
style, though tolerably animated. 

f See D'Agincourt, plate 101. Other fragments are described by 
Rumohr, vol i. 275. 



Part I. THE ROMANESQUE STYLE. 97 

Cathedral of Spoleto,* representing the Saviour enthroned, 
with the Virgin and St. John beside him. It is marked with 
the date 1267, and the name of the master, Solsernus. This 
exhibits the usual Byzantine arrangement in all its grandeur. 

The Benedictine convent at Subiaco, called "II Sacro 
Speco," shows paintings of the twelfth and thirteenth cen- 
turies. St. Francis is known to have visited this convent in 
1216, and a portrait of a Mendicant friar, inscribed with his 
name, is still visible there. If, as is asserted, a genuine 
portrait of the saint, it is curious as bearing no witness to 
the legend of the Stigmata, for no such marks are given. 

In the Italian manuscripts of this period a composition 
and construction are displayed which, however rude and 
careless, are still,! upon the whole, allied with those of the 
larger works of art. Here, as in the Empire of the East, 
the copying of earlier works was usual, though pursued with 
less slavishness of manner, being treated more in the spirit 
of a free repetition. The miniatures belonging to a Virgil 
in the Vatican Library,^ probably of the 13th century, 
consist apparently of freely transposed antique motives, in 
which it is difficult to distinguish the defects of the first 
hand from those of the second. Not only the general 
invention of this work, but every detail also of position, 
action, and drapery, and even the highly placed line of 
horizon, lead us directly back to the late Eoman style of art. 
The heads, also, have the antique breadth and youthfulness ; 
all, however, seen under the disguise of a barbaric trans- 
formation^ 

* See Rumohr, in the Tub. Kunstblatt, 1821, No. 9, with an engraving; 
also ' Ital. Forsch.', vol. i. p. 338. 

t See D'Agincourt, plates 67 and 69 ; also Waagen's ' Kunstw. und 
Kunstler in Paris,' pp. 260 and 267, regarding some Italian miniatures of 
the ninth and tenth centuries. 

t Marked No. 3867. See D'Agincourt, plate 63. 

We suggest the possibility of this manuscript belonging, as Mabillon 
believed, to the sixth century. The splendid uncial letters, 1 and the 
absence of every characteristic peculiarity of the middle ages by which 
all late copies are betrayed, would incline us to question the period which 
D'Agincourt, judging only from the style, has assigned to this work. 



1 [" Uncial letters, which are large and round, while capitals nre square, 
began to be adopted about the middle of the fifth century." See Home's 
'Introduction to Bibliography.' C. L. E.] 

H 



98 ART OF THE MIDDLE AGES IN ITALY. Book II. 

In Venice, where Byzantine painting had struck the 
deepest root, the struggle between ancient and modern art 
assumed a different character to that in Rome. We have 
here the strange spectacle of a bold mind, at once, with one 
great work, breaking through the trammels of tradition, while 
succeeding artists lapsed deeper than ever into the old 
forms. 

In the great mosaics of the cathedral of the neighbouring 
island of Torcello, belonging apparently to the 1 2th century, 
and representing the Eesurrection and Day of Judgment, 
we already perceive a greater liveliness of conception and 
richness of thought. Incomparably more important, how- 
ever, are the cupolas and lunettes of the vestibule of St. Mark 
in Venice itself. In the mosaics of the waggon roofs and 
semi-circular recesses of a portion of this vestibule, called 
the Cappella Zeno, we have the Life of St. Mark and a 
Madonna between two Angels works of the utmost Byzan- 
tine elegance and neatness, and excelling in a remark- 
able manner not only all contemporary but most preceding 
works. The gold lights of the drapery, the heads in short, 
all the details are executed with extraordinary care. It is 
striking how, in the still totally trammelled forms, a fresh 
Western spirit is perceptible ; action and position being 
more animated, and conception finer and larger, than in 
genuine Byzantine works. These mosaics, which we may 
attribute to the twelfth century,* constitute the transition to 
those in the vestibule nearest the three inner doors, as well 
as to those on the left side of the building, and these last 
may be adjudged to the thirteenth century. They represent 
in a rich succession of pictures, partly upon a white and 
partly upon a gold ground, the Bible history from the 
Creation of the world to the time of Moses, and are dis- 
tributed without distinction in the shallow cupolas, in the 
lunettes, and in the soffits of the arches. The execution is 

* See G. Piazza (La. Eegia Basilica di San Marco), Venice, 1835, who 
assigns them to the sixteenth century, probably only because that was the 
period when the chapel received some alterations, and was applied to a dif- 
ferent purpose. The style of these mosaics, however, defeats that surmise. 
Similar in character, and but little inferior in grace, is the translation 
of the body of St. Mark on one of the walls of the right transept. 



Part I. THE ROMANESQUE STYLE. 99 



careful, but by no means so delicate and fine as in the 
Cappella Zeno ; while on the other hand, the fresh and 
almost totally Western tendency of art bursts upon us here 
with such surprising richness, that we may regard these works 
as the finest productions of the Komanesque style. Innumer- 
able new artistic motives are here expressed in forms which 
remind us occasionally of the Byzantine mode of conception, 
but still oftener of that of the early Christian period. In 
point of fact, however, we here see the manifestations of 
a new consciousness in art. The soft round forms, the 
flowing drapery, the occasionally very expressive heads, 
and the freedom of action, evince not so much a return 
to early tradition, as to an instinctive feeling for nature, 
and display a character hitherto unknown in Venetian art. 
The historical occurrences are distinctly and intelligibly 
expressed action and drawing animated and clear. In the 
details, also, there is much which is archseologically im- 
portant. The youthful archangels which, at the Creation 
of the world, occupy the place of the Deity, remind us of 
antique Victories one of them is distinguished by cross and 
nimbus. The history of Joseph in particular, is full of 
remarkable features.* 

This distinguished example found at first, however, but 
few followers. Those mosaics in S. Mark's which are, with 
probability, attributed to the close of the thirteenth and be- 
ginning of the fourteenth century, are incomparably more 
Byzantine and conventional, though, upon the whole, a some- 
what freer mode of conception is apparent in them. We 
allude here only to those mosaics in the chapel which serves 
as a baptistery also constituting a portion of this remark- 
able vestibule and less for the style than for the subjects 

* See the catalogue of these mosaics in the Tiibinger Kunstblatt, 1831, 
Nos. 32 and 33. Rumohr, in his Ital. Forsch., p. 175, is of opinion that 
these mosaics, as well as the vestibule itself, date from the time of the 
Greek exarchate (the sixth and seventh centuries). But there is no pos- 
sible reason to imagine that the vestibule is older than the rest of the 
building ; and even if the style did not so totally differ from the accredited - 
works of the Exarchal time, the mediaeval costumes which occasionally 
occur are sufficient evidence of a much more modern period. We lake 
this opportunity to remark that these mosaics are here and there inter- 
spersed with works of the time of the Vivarini and Titian. 

H2 



100 ART OF THE MIDDLE AGES IN ITALY. Book II. 

of the pictures, which, beside the history of the Baptist, 
contain a series of symbolical scenes and figures in relation 
to the rite of baptism. In one of the shallow domes is the 
figure of Christ borne on cherubim, and surrounded by nine 
undraped angelic figures (half-lengths). Forming another 
and wider circle are nine other angels, each of whom indicate 
their office towards the human family by some appropriate 
action ; thus showing the particular class of the heavenly 
hierarchy to which they belong. An angel, for example, of 
the class of Thrones, is seated with crown and sceptre upon 
the starred globe of the world : St. Michael in armour, with 
spear and scales, represents Dominations ; an angel is holding 
a child in swaddling clothes in token of being its guardian 
spirit ; an archangel sustains a naked supplicating figure (a 
soul) ; while below, in a pit, three lamenting forms (souls of 
the newly-born, or dwellers in purgatory,) are clinging one to 
the other. An angel, again, with the inscription " Yirtutes," 
beckons authoritatively to a skeleton on the ground to rise 
up fire and water being close by as signs of the second 
birth. Another, of the order of Powers, is binding the 
hideous form of Satan which lies before him; another is 
seated in helmet and armour upon a throne a seraph with 
a staff being similarly placed. Finally, a cherub with ten 
wings is seen bearing the inscription " Plenitudo scientiae " 
upon his breast. The decorations of the second shallow dome 
are better executed. Bound the figure of Christ are arranged 
twelve groups, representing the baptism of each apostle, with 
explanatory inscriptions. The person to be baptized appears 
always standing in a stone basin behind him a figure as 
witness and a town in token of the locality. A lunette 
with the baptism of Christ is ascribed (though wrongfully) 
to the eleventh century : the scene takes place in the presence 
of adoring angels. From out the river Jordan, which is full 
of fishes, rises a siren with golden scales on her body, a 
symbol of the world and its attractions; and, as such, a 
significant contrast to the subject of baptism.* The rest 
consist chiefly of scenes from the life of the Baptist, rather 

* So explained in the Redo, umh? diu tier (eleventh century) in Wacker- 
nagel's ' Altdevtsches Lesebuch,' 1st edition, 104. 



Part I. THE ROMANESQUE STYLE. 101 

unusual in character ; for instance, as he is seen led by an 
angel in the desert receiving the coat of camel's hair from 
another angel, &c., with other similar subjects.* 

In the works of Lombard painters also we remark a decided 
movement at the commencement of the thirteenth century. 
Here, where perhaps Byzantine feeling never entirely ob- 
tained the mastery, an element of art is observable which often 
occurs in German-Romanesque works, namely, a vehemence 
of dramatic representation. The most important are the 
wall-paintings in the baptistery at Parma, particularly those 
on the ceiling, which were executed probably about the year 
1230. | They are in three compartments : in the uppermost 
are the Apostles and the symbols of the Evangelists ; under 



* In the art of Lower Italy, also, which in these times constituted 
a rival to that of Venice, the germ of a new development began to show 
itself about the commencement of the thirteenth century (or even earlier), 
of which, at present, we have no certain history. The Gallery at Naples 
contains a considerable number, of late Byzantine pictures, some of which 
appear to confirm this fact, though, having no date or locality upon them, 
they may perhaps have been gathered together from the most opposite 
parts of Italy. One school, however, that of Otranto, in Apulia, was 
accustomed to mark its pictures, at least, with the name of the place. 
These are mostly small miniature-like altar triptychs, &c., of thoroughly 
Byzantine treatment in colour and handling. The flesh is of a brick- 
colour ; the draperies very dark ; the gradations of shadows hatched ; the 
lights thickly applied (seldom with gold). With all this, singular to say, 
we remark a certain breadth and feeling for composition as regards the 
human form. The drapery, in spite of the well-known Byzantine multi- 
plicity of folds, shows a simple and intelligent mode of arrangement. The 
heads also have so far departed from the Byzantine type as to display some 
liveliness of expression. But the most remarkable feature is the total 
absence of the gold ground, which is replaced either by a black ground or 
by a rich fantastic landscape, with a blue sky. For these combined reasons, 
however, it is utterly impossible to assign these works to the twelfth or 
even to the thirteenth century, as D'Agincourt persists in doing. The 
best picture the Christ in the Garden with the Magdalen in the Museo 
Christiano in the Vatican (See D'Agincourt, plate 92), bears the inscription 
" Donatus Bizamanus pinxit in Hotranto." The same family name recurs 
frequently, for instance, upon a Visitation of the Virgin (plate 93) which 
obviously belongs to the fifteenth century, though the colouring is still 
somewhat Byzantine. Upon the whole, we may conclude that the school 
of Otranto itself is not much older than the fifteenth century. Should it, 
however, be proved to be earlier than the period of the influence of the 
Flemish school upon the Neapolitan, the circumstance of the finished cha- 
racter of the landscape would justify a strict inquiry. Otranto pictures are 
not seldom seen in the market of art under every possible denomination. 

f See Kugler, ' Ttibinger Kunstblatt,' Nos. 6-8 : also Lanzi, translated 
by Quandt and Wagner, vol. ii. p. 294, and further. 



102 ART OF THE MIDDLE AGES IN ITALY. Book II. 

these the Prophets, and other characters of the Old Testament, 
and, in a niche, Christ with the Virgin, and John the Baptist. 
In the third row, between the windows, are twelve scenes 
from the life of John the Baptist, and two saints next each 
window. In these we also find all the hardness of execution 
which characterises the Byzantine style, united with a 
powerful and lively colouring, and an impassioned vehemence 
in the action, which is carried even to exaggeration. The 
figure of an angel, which is frequently repeated, seems 
scarcely to touch the ground, so rapid is the movement ; the 
disciples going to meet John in the wilderness appear in the 
greatest haste ; the gestures of John while baptizing those 
of the imploring sick of the disciples when their master is 
taken prisoner of the soldier who acts as executioner all 
appear to be the production of a fancy which delighted in 
the most vehement and excited action. This energy manifests 
itself also in attitudes of repose, particularly in the noble 
dignity of Daniel and of the two prophets beside him. In 
these works we see the first violent efforts of a youthful and 
vigorous fancy, endeavouring to bend to its purposes the still 
lifeless form of art with which it had to deal. 

Belonging also to the thirteenth century, and to Eome 
and its neighbourhood, were the family of the Cosmati, who 
laboured, as inscriptions testify, in mosaics and paintings 
in the Cathedral of Civita Castellana, at Subiaeo, and in the 
Cathedral of Anagni. To one of the same family, who lived 
in the fourteenth century, belong various monuments ; 
that of Cardinal Gonsalvi, in S. Maria Maggiore, and of 
Durand, Bishop of Mende, in S. Maria sopra Minerva, both 
in Rome ; verified also by inscriptions. The interesting 
mosaics of the tribune and arch of the tribune in S. Maria 
in Trastevere, in which a dawning sense of composition is 
perceptible, are the work of the school of the Cosmati. It 
is believed that Pietro Cavallini, also a Roman, was a scion 
of the Cosmati. He is recorded to have been the author of 
the choir tribune mosaics in S. Maria in Trastevere at Rome ; 
also of frescoes in the same church of which only vestiges 
survive. It is certain that he was in the service of Robert 
of Naples in 1308. He was thus cotemporary with Giotto, 



Part I. THE ROMANESQUE STYLE. 103 

whose designs he carried out in the mosaics of the faQade of 
S. Paoli fuori le mura.* 

The foregoing suffices to show that the rise of mediaeval 
painting in Tuscany, the inquiry into which we have delayed 
till now, was no isolated circumstance, but that, on the con- 
trary, the most opposite parts of Italy began at this time 
unanimously to stir with new artistic life. We wish espe- 
cially to call the reader's attention to this fact, because the 
more modern Italian writers on art, being chiefly Tuscans 
by birth, have been inclined to exaggerate the influence of 
their native art upon the rest of Italy, great as that un- 
doubtedly was. 

The origin of Tuscan painting, in spite of (and in some 
measure on account of) various early inquiries, is still very 
obscure, and modern investigation has served more to show 
the confusion which attends its history than to throw any 
positive light on it. Thus far appears certain, that Tuscany 
namely, Pisa and Siena, as well as Florence pursued, at 
the commencement of the thirteenth century, the Byzantine 
mode, and that the old rude Western style had almost disap- 
peared before then.f At all events, no specimen exists 
which shows so decided a Western conception of form and 
composition as the mosaics of S. Maria in Trastevere, in 
Home (A.D. 1139-1153), or those in the vestibule of S. Mark's 
at Venice. We shall find, also, that the later Tuscan artists 
of the thirteenth century remained and continued, in many 
external respects, far more dependent on the Byzantine 
school than those of contemporary date in Home, though they 
surpass these latter in thought and invention. This, therefore, 
is the question we have to treat namely, what painter, or 

* The mosaics on the wall above the choir tribune of S. Paolo fuori le 
mura, and those on the inner side of the Arch of Triumph, may have been 
the production of a contemporary of Cavallini. They represent the Virgin 
and the Baptist on the one side, and St. Peter and St. Paul on the other. 
At all events, the influence of the Gothic style, as modified by the Tuscan 
school, is already decided. 

f In the department of sculpture it is possible that it may always have 
been kept up. In painting, however, an Exultet, and another manuscript 
in the Opera of the cathedral of Pisa (see E. Forster, ' Beitrage zur neuern 
Kunstgeschichte,' 1835, p. 78), may be considered as the latest specimens 
of the native style, and belong probably to the twelfth century. 



104 ART OF THE MIDDLE AGES IN ITALY. Book II. 

what local school within the dominion of the Byzantine 
influence, first began to show an independent feeling ? 

We head the list of the more remarkable works fitted to 
decide this question with the wall-paintings in the church of 
S. Pietro (or S. Bero) in Grado, upon the high road between 
Pisa and Leghorn, probably executed about 1200. Here, 
upon the upper walls of the middle aisle, we perceive the 
histories of St. Peter and St. Paul, with the figures of angels 
at open or half-closed windows above them, and, in the 
spandrils of the arches, portraits of the Popes. The figures 
in the upper row display " the graceful meagreness " of 
Byzantine forms, though the arrangement is good and ani- 
mated.* Setting aside, however, this somewhat doubtful 
specimen, we next come to a picture on wood in the public 
gallery at Siena, dated 1215, representing a Christ (slightly 
relieved) between the signs of the Evangelists, and six 
scenes from the New Testament.! It so happens, how- 
ever, that this picture in no way belongs to the Byzantine 
school, but partakes, by way of exception, of the purely 
Italian style, the figures being short, with heavy outlines 
of a clearly-expressed, but rude character, in barbaric 
drapery. 

We now trace the more authentic specimens with greater 
frequency, inasmuch as not only particular works are marked 
with name and date, but even particular masters determined 
by curious (though not always trustworthy) tradition an 
advantage which contemporary German art is almost entirely 
devoid of. And first, two artists come under our considera- 
tion, who, though perhaps not the most distinguished of their 
time, and still too much fettered by Byzantine mannerism to 
compare with the dramatic animation of the wall-paintings 
in the Baptistery at Parma, or with the mosaics in the vesti- 

* See Rumohr, p. 345. E. Forster, in his ' Beitrage zur neuern Kunst- 
geschichte,' p. 85, designates these pictures, it is true, as tame, awkward, 
and incorrect in drawing, hut only in reference to the period assigned to 
them, namely, after 1352. This period is determined by the portraits 
of the popes, which extend to Clement VI. It is possible however, that, 
when first executed, a space was left free (as in S. Apollinare in Classe, 
near Ravenna) for later comers. Examples may be found in Giov. Rosini, 
'Storia della Pittura Italiana.' Atlas, plate 5. 

f See Rumohr, vol. i. p. 297. 




Lurfie Picture by Gaido da Siena, in the Church of S. Domenico, Siena, dated 1221. 

p. 105. 



Part I. THE ROMANESQUE STYLE. 105 



bule of S. Mark's, yet, in the comparative adherence to 
nature evinced by their works, far outstep the bounds of 
Byzantine convention. 

The first is Guido Gratiani, or Guido da Siena, by "whom 
there is a large Madonna picture in S. Domenico at Siena 
(in the second chapel on the left), inscribed with the name 
of the master, and the date 1221. (See woodcut.) The 
style of this painting is still perfectly Byzantine, yet not with- 
out dignity and a peculiar naivete in the attitude of the prin- 
cipal figure, and in the round, graceful head of the child.* 
It must be owned, however, that the inscription is known to 
have been retouched, and suspected to have been altered. 
The researches of several modern historians have elicited no 
mention of a Sienese Guido earlier in date than 1278. The 
second is Giunto da Pisa, who lived, according to old chroni- 
cles, from 1202 to 1258,f whose name, with the date 1236, 
was inscribed on a picture of the Crucifixion, now lost, 
formerly in the church of S. Francesco at Assisi. He, too, 
is a very obscure subject. Among the existing works ascribed 
to him (not, indeed, on sufficient grounds) may be particu- 
larly mentioned besides a crucifix in S. Eanieri, and a 
picture with saints in the chapel of the Campo Santo at 
Pisa some wall-paintings in the upper church of S. Fran- 
cesco at Assisi, consisting of the Martyrdom of St. Peter, the 
Destruction of Simon Magus, who is borne violently through 
the air by demons, and the decorations round the furthest 
window of the choir tribune the first very much over- 
painted. Action and expression are still feeble and fettered. 
Nevertheless we perceive a certain feeling for purer form and 
livelier colouring, such as is foreign to the Byzantine artist 

* See D'Agincourt, plate 107 ; Kugler, 'Tub. Kunstblatt,' 1827, Xo. 47 ; 
Rumohr, ' Ital. Forsch.', p. 334. The picture has been partly restored and 
painted over ; but in the figures of the angels and in the upper spandrils 
the old execution is quite visible. The inscription contains the following 
playful verse : 

" Me Guido de Senis diebus depinsit amcenis : 
Quern Christus lenis nullis velit angere poanis." 

Perhaps the earliest evidence of a freshly-awakened artistic complacency 
at an originally conceived work. 

f See Kugler, ' Tub. Kunstblatt,' 1827, Nos. 26 and 27. Also D'Agin- 
court, plate 102. 



106 ART OF THE MIDDLE AGES IN ITALY. Book II. 



of that late period.* And as these works serve as specimens 
of the awakening taste of the day at Siena and Pisa, so the 
same may be said of those in the baptistery or church of 
S. Giovanni, at Florence. The mosaics here, in the arch of 
the quadrangular altar-tribune, bear an inscription designat- 
ing the artist as a Franciscan monk by the name of Jacobus,^ 
with the date 1225. The subject is a circle of saintly per- 
sonages, ranged round the Agnus Dei, and supported by four 
kneeling male figures in the spandrils of the arches. The 
Byzantine motives which occur here appear to be more 
happily chosen than in Guido da Siena 's works. The archi- 
tecturally disposed arrangement reminds us also of those 
early Christian models which here, as in other parts of Italy, 
exercised an influence over the newly-awakening spirit of 
art. The mosaics, however, of the octagonal dome are by 
very various hands, and of very various periods. They are 
arranged in several concentric bands, the innermost contain- 
ing groups of angels ; the second, subjects from Genesis ; 
the third, the life of Joseph ; the fourth, the life of Christ ; 
and the fifth, that of John the Baptist. Nearest before the 
tribune these bands are interrupted by an enthroned Christ 
of colossal size, which, as well as the groups of angels, is 
supposed to be the work of the Florentine artist, Andrea Toft 
(A.D. 1213-1294), who studied under the Greek mosaicists in 
Venice. The Christ is a figure of the strictest Byzantine 
type, but with a certain fulness and dignity of form, very 
different to the meagre weakness in vogue among the Byzan- 
tines of the time. The execution is delicate and neat, the 
gold hatchings consistently carried out. The Greek artist 
Apollonius is supposed to have contributed to other portions 
of the dome he whom Tafi (according to Vasari) had pre- 
vailed upon to remove from Venice to Florence. Thus far 

* The lively, or rather gaudy, colouring to which the author alludes 
sometimes occurs in the draperies of the Byzantines, but uever in the flesh 
tints. Some miniature illuminations of the twelfth century may be 
quoted as specimens. See Dr. Waagen, ' Kunstwerke, &c., in Paris,' 1839, 
p. 226. Rumohr (' Ital. Forsch.') is of opinion that neither of the two 
painters above mentioned equalled their Byzantine models. C. L. E. 

t Rumohr, vol. i. p. 387, has satisfactorily proved that this Jacobus has 
nothing to do with the monk Jacob of Tarrita, or Jacobus Toriti, of whom 
more hereafter. 



Part I. THE ROMANESQUE STYLE. 107 



the account is sufficiently questionable ; but when Apollonius 
is magnified into a whole Greek school at Florence, and 
their settling there brought into conjunction with the fall of 
Constantinople, the whole assertion falls to the ground. 
There is no doubt that Venice at that time offered the nearest 
source for fine and elegant Byzantine mosaic work ; but we 
question very much whether, even in Venice, any consider- 
able body of native Greek artists existed at all, and whether 
there may not rather have existed, from the twelfth century, 
an independent school of Venetian-Byzantine art.* Alto- 
gether it appears to us that too much stress is laid upon the 
last supposed emigration of Greek artists. The apparently 
sudden rise of Byzantine forms of art in Tuscany, at the 
beginning of the thirteenth century, may be accounted for in 
a different way. We must not overlook the fact that, with 
the exception of Pisa, the highest prosperity of the country, 
and of its chief cities, dates from that time, and that in the 
newly-awakened demand for mosaics the delicate Venetian 
workmanship could not fail to be preferred to the incom- 
parably ruder Roman, or to the remotely situated Norman- 
Sicilian school. That, with the technical execution of Venice, 
the style should follow (if this latter had not actually pre- 
ceded it) need not surprise us, nor that the style should 
influence other departments of painting ; an analogous case 
being supplied to us in the Flemish art of oil-painting, 
which, wherever, it was introduced, brought almost invariably 
something of Flemish reality in its train. 

It was the latter half of the thirteenth century which really 
developed the new tendency. Here, however, we must give a 
brief view of that renovation which marked the intellectual 
life of the time, the development of Tuscan art being only 
intelligible when considered in connection with it. 

The thirteenth century had commenced with the papacy of 
Innocent III., under whose great gifts and triumphant 
measures the See of Rome attained a power and splendour 
unknown before. The highest feeling of religious enthusiasm 
pervaded the country. The glowing devotion of St. Francis 
of Assisi inspired all hearts. How then could the debased 
* See Rumohr, vol. i. p. 349. 



108 ART OF THE MIDDLE AGES IN ITALY. Book II. 



and haggard forms of the Byzantine school have fulfilled 
the purposes of religious art at such a period? Sooner 
or later a truer expression of feeling was sure to break 
the bonds by which it had been paralysed. Other moral 
tendencies also of a contemporary date contributed to the 
complete emancipation of art. At this period commences 
the true nationality of Italy, announced, among other signs, 
by the rise of a splendid literature in the vernacular tongue, 
and which, though it bore a very different fruit to that pro- 
duced by the contemporary spirit of chivalry in the North, 
was equally pregnant with great results. One common 
impulse for the attainment of a higher ideal animated every 
department of civilization in the Western Empire, and in 
art, though only for a brief moment, approached the form 
of the highest classical perfection. This was the case, 
namely, in a few specimens of sculpture of the twelfth and 
thirteenth centuries, though it is highly probable that the 
authors of them were devoid of all knowledge of the antique. 
The early works of the great sculptor Nicola Pisano (born 
about 1300) are strongly marked with this tendency, till, 
having himself come in contact with an antique example, he 
formed his style immediately upon it. Here, however, as 
in Germany and France, this free and elevated conception 
of form and character was destined soon to give way to 
a more conventional, and even to a mannered Gothic style, 
without having produced any obvious effect upon the depart- 
ment of painting. The immediate followers of Nicola Pisano 
departed at once from his example, while, in those paintings 
contemporary with and closely succeeding him, that higher 
cultivation of form which he aimed at is only very seldom to 
be traced. 

And now we must first consider that painter who is 
usually (though too exclusively) looked upon as the founder 
of modern Italian painting we mean Giovanni, of the 
family of the Cimabui, who, according to Vasari, was born 
in the year 1240, and appears to have died soon after 1300. 
Among the works ascribed with the greatest probability to 
him are two large Madonnas in Florence. The earlier one, 
formerly in S. Trinita, and now preserved in the Academy 




MADONNA ENTHRONED ; by Cimatuft, in S. A! aria Ncveila, Florence. 



p. ltt>. 



Part I. THE ROMANESQUE STYLE. 109 



(with grand figures of prophets and patriarchs introduced 
in the lower part), is still closely allied to the Byzantine 
style.* The later picture is in S. Maria Novella in the 
south chapel of the transept ; in this, angels are repre- 
sented kneeling on each side of the Madonna ; the frame 
of the picture is ornamented with small medallions, in which 
are introduced heads of saints. This work, though, on the 
whole, still following the Byzantine arrangement, already 
employs it with artist-like freedom ; for the drawing is 
improved by the study of nature, and the execution, unlike 
the Byzantine, manner, is modelled and round.f The infant 
Christ on the lap of the Madonna shows an approach to 
nature in action ; the colouring is truer, the ornamentation 
in better taste. Some of the medallions also are successful ; 
and only relatively admirable as this art may be, it contains 
the germ of Florentine greatness which was established in 
the person of Giotto. It is said that this picture, when 
finished, was carried from the house of the artist to the 
church with pomp and rejoicing. 

Very similar in style to this work, and apparently by the 
same hand, is a colossal - St. Peter enthroned, with two 
angels, in S. Simone in Florence, over a neglected altar in 
a dark passage between the church and sacristy.^ The 
greater part of the large mosaic which adorns the chief 
tribune of the Duorno at Pisa, representing the Saviour, 
of colossal size, with John the Baptist and the Madonna 
beside him, was executed, according to aiithentic documents, 
by Cimabue, towards the close of his life. Here, however, 
in the figure of the Saviour, the artist seems to have been 
fettered by the prescribed types of the church, while in the 
figure of John the Baptist we already remark a more 
animated conception of the head and a more natural action. 

The great talents of Cimabue are exhibited in fullest 
development in the large wall-paintings ascribed to him in 

* An engraving is given in Riepenhausen's 'Geschichte der Malerei,' 
i. 6. 

t Engravings in Riepenhausen, 'Gesch. der Mai.' i. 7; and D'Agincourt, 
' Peinture,'pl. 108. Engravings of two of the medallions in ' Tub. Kunst- 
blatt,' 1821, No. 9. 

J E. Forster, ' Beitrage zur neuern Kunstgesch.', p. 101. 



HO ART OF THE MIDDLE AGES IN ITALY. BOOK II. 

the upper church of S. Francesco at Assisi. The decoration 
of this church must be regarded as one of the most important 
circumstances in the historical development of modern 
painting. " Here lies concealed," in Crowe and Cavalcaselle's 
words, " the history of Florentine art." The church itself 
is remarkable in the history of architecture, having been 
erected by foreign artists in the first half of the thirteenth 
century, in the Gothic style then foreign to Italy. The 
disposition of the building is also peculiar, two churches of 
almost equal extent being built one over the other; the 
lower building formed originally the sepulchral church of 
St. Francis, the upper one alone was dedicated to the usual 
religious service of the monastery. The great veneration 
in which this church was held is evinced by the amount 
of paintings with which the walls were covered in the 
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The new Order here 
appears in a remarkable way as the promoting cause of 
the new style of painting. So early even as during the 
lifetime of St. Francis (who died 1226), one of his monks, 
the Jacobus above mentioned, had executed the mosaics of 
the choir tribune in S. Giovanni, in Florence ; and in Assisi, 
for at least two generations, all the artists which the vicinity 
afforded were employed by the monks to adorn this their 
holy of holies. First, Greek masters, and after them, as 
is supposed, Giunto da Pisa, executed considerable works, 
of which, however, but little is now recognisable. Cimdbue 
was summoned to continue the series ; what he may have 
painted in the under church no longer exists ; his works, 
too, in the choir and transept of the upper church are 
almost wholly obliterated. Many important specimens are, 
however, still preserved.* 

To these belong the paintings ascribed to him on the vaulted 
roof of the nave. The roof consists of five chief quadran- 
gular compartments, of which the first, third, and fifth are 
ornamented with figures, the second and fourth with gold 

* The reasons given by Rumohr ('Ital. Forsch.' ii. 30) to prove that th 
two Madonnas before mentioned are by the hand of Cimabue, appear to be 
equally applicable to these paintings at Assisi. See Kugler, ' Tub. Kunst- 
blatt,' 1827, Nos. 28, 34, 35, 38, 39, 40. 



Part I. THE ROMANESQUE STYLE. HI 



stars on a blue ground. The first compartment, over the choir, 
contains the four Evangelists, which are however almost ob- 
literated. In the triangular spaces of the third compartment, 
separated from each other by the ribs of the arch are medal- 
lions with figures of Christ, the Madonna, John the Baptist, 
and St. Francis. The character of these paintings is almost 
the same as in the above-mentioned altar-pictures ; the coun- 
tenance of the Virgin especially has a close affinity to the 
Madonna of S. Maria Novella. The ornaments which 
surround these medallions are, however, more interesting 
than the medallions themselves. In the lower corners of 
the triangles are represented naked genii, bearing tasteful 
vases on their heads ; out of these grow rich foliage and 
flowers, with other genii among them, who pluck the fruits or 
lurk in the calyxes of the flowers. In the free movements of 
these figures, and in the successful attempt (for such, as a first 
effort, it must be regarded,) to express the modelling of the 
naked form, we recognise a decided and not unsatisfactory 
approach to the antique. One of the figures has, in its 
attitude, a striking resemblance to the genii of classic art 
as we find them commonly represented, standing with a 
torch reversed on the sides of sarcophagi ; in the fifth com- 
partment are the four great Doctors of the Church : in these, 
however, some investigators recognise not the hand of 
Cimabue himself, but that of an imitator. 

Still more important are the paintings with which Cimabue, 
or other Tuscan painters partaking of his aim, adorned the 
upper part of the walls of the nave in a line with the 
windows. On the left, looking from the choir, is repre- 
sented the history of the Creation and of the Patriarchs of 
the Old Testament ; on the right the Birth and Passion of 
Christ. Of the works still existing, the best are, Joseph 
with his Brethren, the Marriage at Cana, the Betrayal of 
Christ, and the Descent from the Cross. These also still 
show the Byzantine school ; at the same time its stiff, 
lifeless, and repulsive peculiarities are in some degree 
avoided ; the artist has succeeded in expressing the action 
of a single passing moment in the grouping of the masses, 
and in the attitudes and gestures of the individual figures. 



112 ART OF THE MIDDLE AGES IN ITALY. Book II 



It is true we recognise in these works as in the cupola 
paintings in the baptistery at Parma the struggle to 
give to traditional form the expression of a living inten- 
tion; in this instance, however, the impassioned move- 
ment of the figures is happily tempered by an air of 
grandeur and dignity. But it is only to a certain extent 
that the artist has succeeded in carrying out this prin- 
ciple of animation ; it is, in fact, only attained so far as 
it is necessary to the intelligible representation of a given 
event ; all that belongs to a closer imitation of Nature in 
her individual peculiarities, all that belongs to the con- 
ception of characteristic or graceful action, is still wanting. 
The type of the heads is alike throughout, the expression 
always conventional. Yet, notwithstanding all these defects, 
these works must be regarded as having been mainly 
instrumental in opening a new path to the free exercise of 
art. 

The lower part of the walls of the nave, under the 
windows, contains in twenty-eight compartments events from 
the life of the Saint to whom the church is dedicated. They 
are executed by different hands, and begin, in general com- 
position, to exhibit the style of the fourteenth century. 
From the frequent recurrence of Byzantine characteristics, 
it appears, however, probable that they were executed by 
scholars of Cimdbue. We shall return to the most important.* 

A general affinity with the style and aim of Cimabue is ob- 
servable in some mosaics executed by contemporary artists 
for example, in the mosaics of the tribunes of S. John 
Lateran and S. Maria Maggiore in Rome, both inscribed 
with the name Jacobus Toriti, and executed necessarily 
between the years 1287 and 1292. The first, on which the 
Franciscan monk Jacobus de Camerino assisted, is simpler in 
arrangement, and less developed in form. Six saints and 
apostles, with whom appear the figures of St. Francis and 
St. Anthony of Padua on a smaller scale, and in a bending 
position (emblematic of their recent canonisation), are ad- 

* Compare Kugler, ' Tub. Kunstbl.', 1827, No. 42. Rumohr (' Ital. 
Forsch.' ii. 67) ascribes almost the whole of these works to Parri Spinello, 
a master of the fifteenth century. 



Part I. THE ROMANESQUE STYLE. 113 



vancing, with their hands raised in ado-ration, towards a cross 
in the centre. Over this, in a glory of angels, is seen 
the head of Christ, as preserved from the older tribune. 
Below are the River Jordan and the four rivers of Paradise, 
and on the wall of the trihune Christ with the Apostles, 
on a smaller scale. The ground is gold. Here, though 
not traceable in the details of the forms, we recognise in 
the animated and inspired action a revival of that poetic 
intention which gives such grandeur to the mosaics of the 
fifth century. In every respect, however, the mosaics of 
S. Maria Maggiore, executed by Jacobus Toriti, stand the 
highest, being surpassed by no contemporary work in dignity, 
grace, and decorative beauty of arrangement. In a blue 
gold-starred circle is seen Christ enthroned with the Virgin : 
on each side are adoring angels, kneeling and flying, on a 
gold ground, with St. Peter and St. Paul, the two St. Johns, 
St. Francis and St. Anthony (the same in size and position 
as before), advancing devoutly along. The upper part is 
filled with graceful vine-branches, with symbolical animals 
among them. Below is the Jordan again, with small river- 
gods, boats, and figures of men and animals. Further below 
are four scenes from the life of Christ in animated arrange- 
ment. The group in the circle, Christ enthroned with the 
Virgin, is especially fine : while the Saviour places the 
crown on his mother's head, she lifts up her hands with the 
expression both of adoration and of modest remonstrance. 
The forms are very pure and noble ; the execution careful, 
and very different from the Roman mosaics of the twelfth 
century. More decidedly still do we trace the new style in 
the mosaics by Giovanni Cosmato in the recesses of two 
monuments in S. Maria sopra Minerva, and in S. Maria 
Maggiore in Rome. To the same time (about 1300) belong 
the mosaics on the upper part of the facade of the last- 
named church (now inserted in the loggia), in which, in 
two rows, enframed in architectural decorations, is Christ 
in the act of benediction, with several saints above, and the 
legend of the founding of the church below. Both well- 
arranged compositions. An inscription gives the name of 
the otherwise unknown master, " Philippus Busutti." This 

I 



114 ART OF THE MIDDLE AGES IN ITALY. Book II. 



work was formerly ascribed to the Florentine mosaicist 
Gaddo Gaddi (died 1312), by whom certain subjects in the 
dome of the baptistery at Florence, an Assumption of the 
Virgin in the cathedral at Pisa, and a Coronation of the 
Virgin in the inner lunette of the chief portal of the 
cathedral at Florence, still exist. These last mosaics com- 
bine the most careful Byzantine treatment (for instance, 
delicate high lights in gold) with the fine and dignified 
conception of Cimdbue, who was allied in friendship with 
the artist. On the other hand, the mosaics of the choir 
tribune of S. Miniato al Monte, above Florence (A. D. 121)7, 
if the inscription to that purport be rightly interpreted), 
show that there were painters living in the vicinity of Cirna- 
bue who adhered strictly to the Byzantine style, and in no 
way advanced beyond it. Here we see the person of Christ, 
conceived in the most morose Byzantine type, enthroned 
upon a green meadow, between the signs of the four Evan- 
gelists ; on the left, with outstretched hands, stands the 
Virgin not without a certain rigid grace and on the right 
St. Miniato, who is presenting a crown to the Saviour. The 
execution is very careful, the gold hatchings of the stiff 
draperies of the utmost delicacy. The animals alone, namely, 
the numerous birds dispersed in the meadow, depart from 
the old type, and show a truth of nature which is very 
remarkable for the period. 

As one who, late in the thirteenth century, still adhered 
unswervingly to the most decrepid Byzantine types, may be 
mentioned Margheritone da Arezzo, by whom a signed picture of 
an almost calligraphic kind exists in the National Gallery. He 
is believed to have died in 1313. He was employed by Pope 
Urban IV. (died 1265) to decorate the portico of the ancient 
Basilica of S. Peter at Eome. He is only worthy of note 
here as being identified by more than one signed specimen. 

The name of Mentano da Arezzo may be added to the fore- 
going. He is recorded to have painted in Naples from 1305 
to 1306, and was the author of an altar-piece, famous for a 
legend of the Madonna's head at the monastery of Monte 
Vergine, near Avellino. Other nameless remains of pictures 
in Naples may possibly be by him. 



Part I. THE ROMANESQUE STYLE. 115 

Another great master cotemporary with Cimabue, and, in 
his surviving authentic works, attaining a step beyond him, 
can only be adverted to here. Further details of his art and 
life will be found heading the Sienese school. This was 
Ducdo di Buoninsegna a name of the highest importance in 
the revival of art. In power of expression, in the telling of 
the tale, in the employment of the highest traditional forms, 
and in the spirit and freshness with which he disengaged . 
himself from them, no one stands above Ducdo. He has 
left, however, no large works to contend for the palm with 
the great artist who went before him, and with the greater one 
(Giotto) who followed after. Duccio's fame may be said to 
rest entirely on a small series of works, of which we shall 
give specimens at the proper place. 

How far the Tuscan influence of the thirteenth century 
extended to the rest of Italy it is impossible now to de- 
termine. It is uncertain, for example, whether the Neapo- 
litan school owed its emancipation from the Byzantine style, 
which we mentioned before, entirely to its own native merits 
and efforts. An artist, by name Tommaso degli Stefani, who 
is supposed to have lived from 1230 to 1310, and is generally 
put upon a level with Cimabue, is to all intents lost to us ; his 
only known works, the wall-paintings of the Passion in the 
Cappella Minutoli, in the cathedral of Naples, having under- 
gone such overpaintings and general ill-treatment, that the 
utmost we can affirm of them is that their author was no 
Byzantine. A better preserved work, the mosaics of a small 
recess in S. Eestituta (the old cathedral) at Naples, which 
represents the Virgin enthroned between St. Januarius and 
another saint, and is supposed to have been completed about 
1300, displays that similar union of freer and more dignified 
forms with delicate Byzantine execution, which we see in 
certain Tuscan works, though otherwise it gives us no ground 
for supposing a closer connection with them. Naples, at that 
time, was under the dominion of the House of Anjou, which 
is known to have encouraged painting, and was perhaps even 
the means of bringing the influence of French art to bear 
upon the Neapolitan. A French manuscript, ' The Tristan,' 
probably executed for that court towards the close of the 

i2 



116 ART OF THE MIDDLE AGES IN ITALY. Book II. 

thirteenth century, and decorated by some Italian hand with 
numerous miniatures (now in the Royal Library at Paris), is 
remarkable for delicacy of execution, for a noble type of 
heads, for slender proportion and clever arrangement. Deli- 
cate and individual traits of expression are also not wanting.* 
The horses especially are, for that period, singularly noble 
in form, while those in the most important German miniatures 
.of the time, for instance in the Momessian Codex, are 
proportionably ill-formed and clumsy. As we are not ac- 
quainted with the date of Neapolitan painting under the last 
of the Hohenstaufen, it remains to be determined how much 
of its merits belongs to a purely native development. 

* Waagen, ' Kunst und Kiinstler in Paris,' p. 315. 



Book III. INTRODUCTION. 117 



BOOK III. 

SECOND STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT. 



MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY AND THEIR FOLLOWERS. 



INTRODUCTION. 

BETWEEN the first enfranchisement of art from Byzantine 
trammels, and its full development, there is little wonder 
that two centuries should have transpired. When the 
artist ceased servilely to repeat traditional forms, his chief 
aim became the intelligible expression of the theme * he had 
to treat, not the manifestation of his own individual mind. 
If, in some instances, for example in the baptistery of Parma, 
an impassioned feeling has been represented, it may, when 
not derived from tradition, be pronounced to have proceeded 
rather from external causes of excitement peculiar to the 

* The word theme (Gegenstand) is preferred in this instance to the 
more obvious term subject, for reasons which it may be as well to state, 
for, though they relate to a distinction which is familiar to many, they 
may serve to throw some light on the views of the author which follow. 
In considering the productions of human genius, the Germans always care- 
fully distinguish between the objects or materials on which the mind 
works, and the manifestation of the individual mind in treating them. 
The general term object, for the first, would be intelligible enough in our 
language ; on the other hand, the word subject, which the Germans restrict 
to the observer, to the individual, is less appropriate in English without 
some explanation. In the German sense the subject is the human being, 
the object all that is without him. When the tone or tendencies of the 
individual mind very perceptibly modify the nature of the materials with 
which it has to deal, this is called a subjective mode of conception or 
treatment. When, on the other hand, the character of the individual is 
comparatively passive, and that of the object chiefly apparent, this is called 
an objective mode. Hence, whenever this distinction is dwelt on, and 
whenever the adoption of this terminology is unavoidable, it is obvious 
that the word subject in its usual English meaning (as for instance in 
s] 'eaking of the subject of a picture) requires to be carefully avoided. 
Where, however, the distinction alluded to is not immediately prominent, 
the word is employed in this translation in the usual sense. C. L. E. 



118 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

period, than from any inly-felt necessity to express his own 
character and feelings through the medium of the incident 
represented. 

It appears at first sight that such a distinction between the 
theme itself and the manifestation of the individual mind in 
treating it is inadmissible that the repose of a work of art 
would be destroyed by such a disunion ; and such in fact is 
the case : but out of this disunion a new and closer alliance 
was to arise. 

This separation and union have their foundation in the 
very essence of Christianity, which recognises no independent 
value in the outer world and its phenomena. 

In the first exercise of art among the Christians, no 
attempt was made to express what we now feel to be the 
exact truth. The forms then assumed were for long merely 
symbolical. But in the further development of Art, an 
arbitrary symbolization was no longer sufficient : the re- 
presentation itself was required to be at once symbol and 
meaning. 

For this purpose it became necessary that the creating 
artist should appear more definitely in his own individual 
character. It was from his consciousness only that this rela- 
tion between the earthly form and the unearthly spirit could 
be made evident ; only when the representation was the 
result of original conception could the spiritual meaning be 
freely expressed. 

Thus the perfection of religious art was only to be attained 
by a due combination of the subjective and objective power : 
the subjective revealing the artist's individual character ; the 
objective his appropriation of external forms. And here, 
for many reasons, it was natural as well as necessary that 
the subjective tendency should take at first the lead. This 
new aim appears now united with a style of representation, 
the intellectual direction and order of which correspond 
strikingly with that of Northern art, and which, on that 
account, may be denominated Gothic. Certain indications 
even show that the North (where this style was developed 
half a century earlier) exercised influence upon the deve- 
lopment of the same in Italy. This may be concluded from 



Book III. INTRODUCTION. 119 

Italian sculpture, which, somewhat sooner than painting, 
accepted the Gothic principle of form. Another means 
of influence was also, as we have suggested, contributed 
by the circumstance of Naples being governed by a noble 
French house. Regarded, however, in a broader light, we 
may consider this metamorphosis in style as one of native 
origin, founded on the same causes which led to it in the 
North, and followed by analogous results. In this also we 
find the consummation of the purely mediaeval artistic life, 
and of the Gothic spirit generally speaking. Those essen- 
tial features in which the Italian Gothic and the Northern 
Gothic style correspond, are less of an outward and material 
than of a moral nature. They are based upon a mode of 
conception which, disregarding the accidental, kept only the 
abstract and strictly essential in view ; that mode of con- 
ception, in short, which is generally characteristic of the 
feeling of the period. This is why, in some instances, Giotto 
and Willielm of Cologne are seen to approach closely to- 
gether ; though, in other respects, the two schools are 
as widely sundered ; one reason for which may be traced in 
the better condition of wall space possessed by the Italian 
races. 

We now consider the next succeeding period of modern 
art, in which the subjective mode of conception prevails. 
Tuscany, that portion of Italy to which the greatest names 
of the preceding period had belonged, still maintains the 
first place during this new period. 

Two principal tendencies, or schools, may be now dis- 
tinguished. The centre of the one was Florence, of the 
other, Siena. The difference between the two may be thus 
defined. The Florentines and the artists who were influenced 
by them evince a peculiar quickness and vigour of thought. 
They throw themselves with a lively consciousness into the 
various and changeful scenes of life, and express the relation 
between the earthly and spiritual between the objects of 
sight and those beyond it in representations of a richly 
poetical and allegorical nature. The Sienese school, on the 
other hand, evince rather a depth of feeling which does not 
require that richness of form, but, on the contrary, adheres (as 



120 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

far as the principle of Gothic art prevails) more to traditional 
forms, while it animates them with a genial warmth. The 
distinctive feature with the Florentines is their richness of 
thought and composition, and the aim at reality of character : 
the distinctive feature with the Sienes is the intense and 
heartfelt grace of their single figures. It must, however, be 
borne in mind that this line of separation is decidedly visible 
in a few cases only, that it is frequently modified by external 
circumstances, and that each of the tendencies in question 
exercises a reciprocal influence on the other. 



CHAPTER I. 



TUSCAN SCHOOLS GIOTTO AND HIS FOLLOWERS. 

GIOTTO. 

AT the head of the didactic or allegorical style stands Giotto* 
the son of one Bondone, a poor labourer. He was born at 
Vespignano, near Florence, in 1276, and died at Florence in 

* The great revolution which Giotto effected, aud the long-enduring 
influence of his example, have been recorded by every historian of art. 
Without any disposition to question his claims to fame, the only points 
on which these historians are not quite in accordance, are the definition 
of his style, and the nature and extent of the innovations he introduced. 
The allegorical tendency on which the author lays so much stress, remark- 
able as it is, is far from being an essential characteristic of Giotto, but 
might rather be traced to the accidental influence of his friendship with 
Dante, and to the spirit of the age. It may be observed generally that the 
habitual employment of allegory can only in strictness be said to charac- 
terise an epoch, not an individual ; for a system of conventional personi- 
fication must of necessity be the gradual result of a general understanding 
and common education. The formative arts which are immediately intel- 
ligible (inasmuch as they are imitative) would be the last to abandon this 
privilege for arbitrary forms, if those forms had not in some sort supplied 
the place of nature. To come to those qualities which appear to have 
been essentially original in Giotto, we observe that his invention is mainly 
distinguished from the earlier productions by the introduction of natural 
incidents and expressions, by an almost modern l richness and depth of 



1 " The modern manner " is Vasari's term for the perfection of the art in 
the hands of Raphael, Titian, &c. 



Chap. I. GIOTTO AND HIS FOLLOWERS. 121 

1336. He was originally a shepherd boy, in which condition, 
it is said, he was discovered by Cimabue drawing a sheep 
upon a slab of stone. Struck with the boy, then ten years of 
age, Cimabue took him to Florence, and gave him in- 
struction in the arts. All traces of his industry under this 
great teacher have perished, but it may be safely assumed 
that he laboured as a youth as well as in early manhood on 
the walls of that grand sanctuary of piety and art which 
arose after the death of St. Francis. At Assisi, therefore, 
in the celebrated church of S. Francesco the cradle of 
Florentine art and surrounded by the rudimental efforts 
of his predecessors, the young Giotto may be said to have 
worked out his apprenticeship as a painter. It is here, 
among the frescoes of the lower series of the upper church, 
illustrating the life of St. Francis, that his hand is traced 
by the internal evidence of its dawning superiority. Of 
the frescoes now ascribed to him may be mentioned the 
first in order a man throwing his cloak on the ground for 
the Saint to tread on with several on the opposite side ; 
viz., the death of the dissolute Lord of Celano the dead 
body of St. Francis on his pallet lamented by his brethren, 
while angels convey his soul to Heaven the incredulity of 
Girolamo, a doctor of Assisi, who thrusts his hand into the 
wound in the Saint's side S. Chiara, the sister of the 
Saint, with her nuns, embracing the body as it rests at 
S. Damiano on the way to Assisi Pope Gregory IX. 
receiving in his sleep from the hands of St. Francis a flask 

composition, by the dramatic interest of his groups, and by a general con- 
tempt for the formal and servile style of his predecessors. This last 
circumstance is partly to be explained (as Rumohr sufficiently proves in an 
inquiry into the personal character of Giotto, ' Ital. Forsch.' ii. p. 55) by a 
total absence of the superstitious enthusiasm of the time. 

The minor peculiarities are in like manner all diametrically opposed to 
the preceding practice. The " spectral stare " of the early painters is 
changed to half-closed eyes, unnaturally long in shape, the dark colour 
of the Byzantines to a delicate and even pale carnation. It is unnecessary 
to anticipate the author's just remarks on other particulars. 

The pale colour of Giotto was the most unfortunate of his innovations, 
for it was adopted by the Florentines for more than a century after him. 
Leon Battista Alberti (' Delia Pittura e della Statua,' lib. ii.) even in the 
fifteenth century, appears to have regretted the prevalence of this taste, 
for he remarks that it would be well for Art if white paint were dearer 
than gems. C. L. E. 



122 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

containing blood from the wound in his side. In the subject 
of the Saint healing a wounded man, the action of the Doctor 
about to leave the apartment, showing that there is no hope, 
is significant of Giotto's dramatic power; and lastly, St. 
Francis restoring to life a lady who had died before making 
confession.* 

Btit Giotto's more mature works, known as his by historical 
as well as by internal evidence, are those which adorn the 
lower church of Assisi. These consist of four triangular 
compartments in the groined roof above the high altar 
(underneath which lie the remains of the saint), representing 
the three vows of the order, Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience, 
and the glorification of St. Francis. In the first of these our 
Lord is seen uniting St. Francis in marriage to Poverty (see 
woodcut). Here, the description by Dante, Giotto's cotem- 
porary and friend, is traceable, who thus speaks of the 

Saint. 

" Che per tal donna giovinetto in guerra 

Del padre corse, a cui, com' alia morte, 

La porta del piacer nessun disserra : 
E dinanzi alia sua spirital corte, 

Et coram patre le si fece unite, 

Poscia di di in di 1' amo piii forte. 
Questa, privata del primo marito, 

Mille e cent' anni e piii, dispetta e scura 

Fino a costui si stette senza invito : 

Ma perch' io non proceda troppo chiuso ; 

Francesco e Poverti per questi amanti 

Prendi oramai nel mio parlar diffuse. 
La loro concordia, e i lor lieti sembianti 

Amore e maraviglia, e dolce sguardo 

Faceano esser cagion de' pensier santi." f 

* Most of these frescoes here named are engraved in Ottley's ' Early 
Florentine School.' 

f "A dame, to whom none openeth pleasure's gate 
More than to death, was, 'gainst his father's will, 
His stripling choice : and he did make her his, 
Before the spiritual court, by nuptial bonds, 
And in his father's sight : from day to day, 
Then loved her more devoutly. She, bereav'd 
Of her first husband, slighted and obscure, 
Thousand and hundred years and more, remain'd 
Without a single suitor, till he came. 

But not to deal 
Thus closely with thee longer, take at large 



Chap. I. GIOTTO AND HIS FOLLOWERS. 123 

This allegory has been copied, with some additional 
embellishment, by the painter. Poverty appears as a woman, 
whom Christ gives in marriage to St. Francis ; she stands 
amongst thorns ; in the foreground are two boys mocking 
her; on each side stand groups of angels as witnesses of 
the holy union. On the left, conducted by an angel, is 
a youth, who gives his garment to a poor man, after the 
example of the Saint : on the right stand the rich and the 
great, who are invited by an angel to approach, but who, 
holding, one a falcon on his wrist, the others bags of money in 
their hands, turn scornfully away.* The vow of Chastity is 
illustrated by a young female figure seated in a strong 
fortress, with angels doing her homage. Below are groups 
consisting on one side of St. Francis welcoming three 
candidates for admission a Monk, a Nun, and a Lay 
Brother. In the centre is a youthful figure receiving 
baptism. On the other side is the Angel of Penitence 
driving away demons. 

The representation of Obedience is not so clear. The 
Angel of Obedience is seated within a temple, with the Angel 
'Prudentia' with a face looking backwards as well as for- 
wards on one side, and the Angel ' Humilitas' on the other. 
In front is a centaur animal with the tail of a lion, and the 
hind-feet of a dog. On each side are groups of angels, and 
above the temple is St. Francis standing, with the hands of 
the Father shedding effulgence upon him, and an angel on 
each side holding the rules of the Order. 



The lovers' titles Poverty and Francis. 
Their concord and glad looks, wonder and love, 
And sweet regard, gave birth to holy thoughts." 

Gary's Translation. 

* Giotto's own ideas of poverty were more adapted to the world in which 
he lived. See his canzone, quoted by Rumohr, ' Italienische Forschungen," 
vol. ii. p. 51, in which he dwells with better sense than metre on the evils 
entailed by poverty. We give a few lines from it : 
" Di guella Poverta ch' e contro a voglia 
Non e da dubitar, che tuttavia 
Che di pecchare e via, 
Facendo spesso a' giudici far fallo 
E d' onor donna e damigella spoglia, 
E fa far furto, forza e villania 
E spesso usar bugia, 
E ciascun priva d' onorato stallo." 



1-24 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

In the fourth compartment St. Francis is seen enthroned 
in glory (see woodcut), standing in a deacon's robe, enriched 
with gold,* surrounded with saints and angels dancing and 
singing, and playing on musical instruments.f 

The hand of Giotto is also recognised in the frescoes in 
the southern transept of the lower church in the series 
illustrating the life of our Lord, and also in those of 
the life of St. Francis. Among the former the Salutation 
and the Visitation are foremost in merit. Among the others 
the restoration to life of a boy of the Spini family by St. 
Francis, though mutilated to make room for an orchestra, 
is full of expression. 

Next in sequence, judging according to his progress in 
art, are the works he executed in Rome, as it is believed, 
between 1298 and 1300. Cardinal Stefaneschi, nephew of 
Boniface VIII., is known to have been his patron there. 
The principal record of Giotto's labours is a mosaic 
executed for the ancient basilica of St. Peter, and now 
preserved in the portico of the modern church, called the 
Navicella, which Giotto is believed to have designed. This 
has been so extensively injured and repaired that it would 
be difficult to form any critical estimate of its author. A 
ship, in a rough sea, containing eleven of the Apostles, 
occupies the principal part of the scene. In front is St. 
Peter on the waves with our Lord extending his hand to him. 
Opposite, on dry land, is a figure fishing with rod and line. 
Four bust-length figures of bearded Fathers are seen in the 
sky with actions of sympathy for those in the ship ; below 
them on each side are the winds in form of a demon. In the 
lower corner, near Christ, is seen the mitred head of Cardinal 
Stefaneschi, with hands clasped in prayer (see woodcut). 

A more satisfactory example of Giotto consists of a series 
of three panels, painted on each side with sacred subjects 
believed to have originally formed part of a Ciborium which 

* He had remained a deacon from a feeling of humility, and had never 
been consecrated as a priest. 

f The best engravings of these four . subjects are those in Fea's work, 
' Descrizione della Basilica di S. Francesco d' Assisi, Rome,' 1820. A fuller 
description of the subjects is given under the signature W. in the ' Tiibinger 
Kunstblatt,' 1821, Nos. 44, 45. 




Portrait of DANTE, by Giotto, in the Bordello. Florence p. 125 



Chap. I. GIOTTO AXD HIS FOLLOWERS. 125 

he executed for Cardinal Stefaneschi. These panels are 
preserved in the Sacristy of the Canons of St. Peter's. 

No other works by the master have survived in Rome 
except the fragment of a much-injured fresco in St. John 
Lateran, representing Pope Boniface VIII., in full pontifi- 
cals announcing the opening of the Jubilee. This fresco 
confirms the belief that Giotto remained in Kome until 1300, 
the year of the proclamation of the Jubilee. It was on this 
occasion, when Dante visited the eternal city, that the friend- 
ship between himself and the painter was formed.* 

The hand and mind of Giotto are next traced in Florence, 
in the Chapel of the Bargello, or palace of the Podesta. 
This chapel, having undergone many vicissitudes having 
been divided into two stories the upper one used as a 
prison, the lower as a magazine the frescoes covered with 
dirty whitewash was at last rescued from its degraded 
plight, and the walls so far scraped as to reveal at all events 
a faint idea of the composition and spirit of Giotto's works.| 
These originally occupied the entire walls ; one end of the 
chapel being filled by a fresco of the Inferno, the other by 
that of the Paradiso, the sides covered with incidents from 
the lives of the Magdalen, and of St. Mary Egyptiaca. A 
figure here and there remaining, of fine conception and ex- 
pression, attests the beauties of art which have been for ever 
obliterated. In the " Noli me tangere " a wreck in other 
respects the head of the Magdalen is of the highest order 
of expression. But the chief interest and object of those 
instrumental in effecting the restoration of the chapel were 
the portraits of Dante, Brunetti Latini, Corso Donati, and 

* Dante's well-known allusion to him in the ' Divina Commedia ' (' Pur- 
gatorio,' si. 94) runs thus : 

" Credette Cimabue nella pittura 
Tener lo campo : ed ora ha Giotto il grido, 
Sicche la fama di colui oscura." 
Thus translated by Gary : 

" Cimabue thought 

To lord it over painting's field ; and now 
The cry is Giotto's, and his name eclipsed." 

f This recovery, as far as it goes, was owing to the energy of three 
gentlemen Mr. Seymour Kirkup, an Englishman long resident in Florence, 
Mr. Henry Wilde, from the United States, and Mr. Aubrey Bezzi whose 
united efforts overcame the opposition of the authorities in July, 1840. 



126 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III 

other cotemporaries of the painter, mentioned by Vasari as the 
first successful attempts at portraiture after the revival of 
art, and included in these frescoes. These have come to 
light in the lower portion of the Paradiso where a procession 
of citizens are seen following a crowned youth, believed to 
be intended for Charles of Valois. The portrait of Dante is 
here unmistakable ; the heads are of strong character, and 
no better specimens exist of the painter's power of in- 
dividuality. In addition to original ill-treatment, they suffered 
greatly by the removal of the whitewash, and further, are 
believed not to have gained by the partial repairs executed 
since. It is to be supposed that the date of these portraits 
is previous to the exile of the poet, therefore between 1300 
and 1302. In the same order, on the left side of the 
window, is another procession, similarly grouped, and headed 
by three figures the hindmost of which is supposed to be 
Giotto himself. 

It now appears that Giotto was engaged by Pope Benedict 
XI. to proceed to Avignon, and execute works in the Papal 
Palace there ; this engagement was defeated by the death of 
that Pontiif, and it seems probable that, on the failure of the 
plan, the painter repaired to the north of Italy. In 1303, the 
erection of the Arena Chapel, dedicated to the Madonna, was 
completed by Enrico Scrovegno, a rich citizen of Padua, 
who engaged the painter to adorn its walls.* It has even 
been believed that he assisted in the design of the building, 
which is singularly adapted to pictorial purposes. The 
history of the Madonna and of Christ are here rendered in 
three courses of frescoes, comprising thirty-eight subjects, 
which begin with Joachim's Offering and end with the De- 
scent of the Holy Ghost.f The ground of the simply arched 
vault is blue, studded with gold stars, among which appear 
the heads of Christ, the Virgin, and the Prophets, while above 
the arch of the choir is the Saviour in a glory of angels. 
Combined with these sacred scenes and personages, are 

* See ' Kunstblatt,' 1837, pp. 241, 354, 365, 377, E. Forster's essay 
' Giotto,' and a review of the Marchese Selvatico's work ' Sulla Cappelliiia 
degli Scrovegni.' 

f Many of these have been engraved by the Arundel Society. 




K s 




Chap. I. . GIOTTO AND HIS FOLLOWERS. 127 

introduced fitting allusions to the moral state of man ; the 
lower part of the side-walls containing, in medallions 
painted in chiaroscuro, allegorical figures of the virtues and 
vices the virtues feminine and ideal, the vices masculine 
and individual while the entrance-wall has a large repre- 
sentation of the Last Judgment. In these, as in the alle- 
gorical subjects, Giotto appears as a great innovator, a number 
of situations suggested by the Scriptures being here either 
expressed for the first time, or seen in a totally new form. 
He enriches the well-known subjects with numerous subordi- 
nate figures, thus making the picture more truthful or more 
intelligible. In that scene, for instance, where an angel is 
appearing to Joachim in a dream, he has introduced two 
shepherds on one side, who contemplate the vision with awe. 
Where the event is the Flight into Egypt, the Holy Family 
is accompanied by a serving-man and three other figures. 
At the Raising of Lazarus, also, the disciples behind the 
Saviour on the one side, and the astonished multitude on the 
other, form two choruses. In the picture of the Flagellation, 
the scourgers constitute a rich group, with the figure of a 
youthful scoffer kneeling in front, and the scribes on the 
right. This approach to reality sometimes assumes a 
character which oversteps the strict limits of the higher 
ecclesiastical style ; as, for example, in the picture of St. 
Anna praying, where a servant-maid sits spinning in an 
adjoining room. But such extensions of the subject alone 
would hardly have furthered the designs of art had they not 
been accompanied by every endowment requisite for histo- 
rical painting, namely, with the expression of the highest 
moral feeling, the power of giving animation not only to 
single portions, but to the whole composition, and an intuitive 
truthfulness of action. In these departments Giotto is both 
founder and completer of his school. Certain sacred occur- 
rences have perhaps never been so happily expressed as by him, 
though in execution of details he is necessarily much behind- 
hand. The Murder of the Innocents combines with moderate 
action the expression of the deepest terror and sorrow in the 
women, and of the most relentless malice in the executioners. 
The Resurrection of Lazarus, also, considering the necessary 



128 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

limits of the time and style, may be pronounced a perfect 
work. Martha and an aged saint are holding the still swathed- 
up body, while Mary has already cast herself at the Saviour's 
feet, who is in the act of pronouncing the words of life. The 
subject of the Entombment, also, has, in choice of motives, 
not been surpassed by any subsequent representation. The 
women seated on the ground, supporting the dead Saviour, 
are overwhelmed with grief, while in the St. John, with his 
arms raised and extended, the painter had preserved the an- 
tique gesture of sorrow. Other mourners form a fine group 
around. 

The Last Judgment, in its customary place above the 
entrance-door, is conceived, as might be supposed, more 
in conformity with traditional treatment, and is inferior in 
execution. The upper part shows signs of Giotto's original 
mind in the procession of the Blessed. Among them are three 
figures seen in profile the centre one, according to tradition, 
being the portrait of the painter. Enrico Scrovegno is also 
seen in purple dress and bonnet, kneeling before a group of 
three female figures, while a priest in white supports the 
model of the chapel. The lower part on the right side em- 
bodies those hideous images encouraged by the Eomish church 
in the old ' Sacred Plays,' for which Dante is usually, but 
unjustly, supposed to be answerable. 

Giotto's labours in Padua also extended to the great church 
of " II Santo," where he adorned the chapter-house with 
incidents from the lives of St. Anthony of Padua, and of St. 
Francis. Portions of these have been destroyed by confla- 
grations, and the usual maltreatment and whitewash have 
obliterated what the devouring element spared. Parts 
of six figures in niches, supported on a painted cornice 
and separated by painted pilasters, dimly show the im- 
perishable beauty of Giotto's forms. Two lunettes on the 
left of the entrance, are also partially discernible. 
The Annunciation, one of them, exhibits, in the Virgin's 
expression of surprise and terror, a new conception of the 
subject. 

At Verona, also, according to Vasari, he is reported to 
have left works, but none survive to test the connoisseur. 



Chap. I. GIOTTO AND HIS FOLLOWERS. 129 

The same may be said of Ferrara, where, Vasari states, he 
also laboured. At Ravenna, however, the student will find 
uo surviving works, it is true, in the church of S. Francesco, 
but a ceiling in the first chapel to the left in S. 
Giovanni Evangelista, with the four Evangelists and the 
four Doctors of the church, bears evidence of the master's 
hand. 

We now return to Florence, where the church of S. Croce 
furnishes a gallery of Giotto's works, equally fitted to excite 
admiration for his industry as well as power. No less 
than four chapels those of the families of the Peruzzi, the 
Bardi, the Giugni, the Tosinghi, and the Spinelli were deco- 
rated by his hand. The frescoes in the old Peruzzi chapel 
(or sacristy) illustrating the lives of the Baptist and of St. 
John the Evangelist were for a time concealed from sight. 
Towards the end of the seventeenth century, they are men- 
tioned by a writer. In the middle of the eighteenth century, 
they were no longer visible. It was in that interval, 
therefore, that they underwent the common ingratitude 
towards so much that was valuable in Italian art. In 1841, 
the first attempts made to rescue these works from oblivion 
discovered the Dance of the Daughter of Herodias and the 
Ascension of the Evangelist ; but it was not till 1863 that the 
rest of the scenes were liberated. These works, however 
injured and defaced, are pronounced the master-pieces of Giotto, 
justifying the enthusiastic admiration of early writers, and 
so far lessening the repute of his followers, as showing how 
much more they owed to the great man than had been hitherto 
supposed. On the vaulting of the entrance-arch (of the 
Peruzzi chapel) are eight half-figures of prophets ; on the 
ceiling the signs of the Evangelists ; but the chief interest 
centres in the walls, one side being devoted to the Life of 
the Baptist, the other to that of John the Evangelist. In 
the first, the apparition of the angel to Zacharias engages 
our admiration. Giotto was seldom more classical in com- 
position, or at the same time more true to the text of Scrip- 
ture, than here. No subsequent art has surpassed the ex- 
pression of Zacharias, or scarcely the form of the angel. 
The birth of the Baptist with Zacharias writing the infant's 



130 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

name is also replete with beauties, among which may be 
particularised the grand antique pose of St. Elizabeth the 
grace of the women at her bedside and the attitude and 
drapery of the grave, dumb father. 

The Dance of Herodias, though little more than outlines 
are left, unites, with all his grander qualities of arrangement, 
grouping and action, a greater nature and individuality of 
expression than he had before attained. Seldom, even in 
later times, have fitter action and features been rendered than 
those which characterise the viol player as he plies his art, 
and watches the dancing Salome. 

Still finer are some of the scenes from the Life of the 
Evangelist viz., the Miracle of the Resurrection of Drusiana 
and the Ascension of St. John ; the group round the grave 
express individual varieties of wonder and surprise which 
few painters have attempted. 

The Bardi chapel has also but recently been relieved from 
its veil of dirty whitewash. Here the nature of the subjects 
Scenes from the Life of St. Francis shows the prevalent 
enthusiasm for the Mendicant ( )rder. Giotto found it a never- 
ending theme. These illustrations, which may be compared 
with those in the upper church at Assisi, occupy two of 
the walls in three courses of frescoes. Some of these are 
grievously damaged, and, what is synonymous, restored ; 
but the intelligent observer of Giotto's works will soon per- 
ceive great beauties. The death-bed of the Saint still 
preserves its pre-eminence for perfection of arrangement and 
expression, even when compared with Ghirlandajo's grand 
fresco of the same scene painted at Florence a century and a 
half later. 

The frescoes by Giotto on the walls of the Giugni (now 
Riccardi) and Spinelli Chapels are still hid from view ; 
indeed, those in the Spinelli Chapel are more than hidden, 
for they have been covered by paintings by a modern 
hand. 

The Coronation of the Virgin,* in the Baroncelli Chapel, 
by Giotto, may next be mentioned. It is a vast picture on 

* Outlines, in D'Aeincourt, pi. 114, Nos. 4 and 5. E. Forster, 'Beitriige, 
jjl. 4. 



Chap. I. GIOTTO AND HIS FOLLOWERS. 131 

panel, with numerous attendant saints and angels. No early 
painter is seen to such advantage under the conditions of a 
tempera picture (and this has been much defaced), as on the 
greater scope of the prepared wall. Still, Giotto's character- 
istics will be found here as well as in the five figures of the 
lower compartment. 

The Last Supper and other frescoes which fill the end 
wall of the old Refectory of S. Croce now a carpet factory 
are now assigned to Giotto's school,* and will be mentioned 
under Taddeo GaddL 

It was for S. Croce also that Giotto executed the panels 
of the presses in the sacristy, preserved in the Academy at 
Florence. These present a series, originally of twenty-six 
pictures, combining the two great subjects which respectively 
enlisted his art the Life of Christ and the Life of St. 
Francis.f That of the Saint is represented in some senses 
in typical reference to that of our Lord a comparison 
accounted for by the enthusiastic admiration in which St. 
Francis was then held, being looked upon as the second 
angel of the Revelation. 

We give the two series in their parallel arrangement, 
although the reciprocal relation is not equally evident in 
all.} 

* Rumohr, ' Ital. Forsch.' ii. 70. Compare F. Forster, in the (Berlin) 
1 Jluseum,' 1833, No. 15, p. 117; and E. Forster, 'Beitrage, etc.', p. 137 
note. The Last Supper is engraved by Lasinio and by Ruscheweyh. 

f Kiihbeil, ' Studien nach altflorentinischen Meistern,' v. x. ; Riepen- 
hausen, ' Geschichte der Malerei,' vol. ii. pi. 3-8. 

J The author appears to have taken his description of these subjects 
from Richa's ' Notizie istoriche delle Chiese Florentine.' No. 13 in the 
first series, and Nos. 6, 9, and 13 in the second, are the four that have 
disappeared. As the original number was only twenty-six, it is probable 
that the two in the Berlin Museum are the two Nos. 13 ; the subject of 
one of these being the Descent of the Holy Ghost. The other is a miracle 
wrought by St. Francis after his death : there can be little doubt that it 
was the original companion, and, if so, Richa described the subject incor- 
rectly; this is the more probable, as the second No. 11, which is still at 
Florence, is also incorrectly described. 

The remote connection between the types and antitypes in subjects taken 
from the Old and New Testament, has been already adverted to. In tht: 
present extraordinary parallel the allusions are still more distant ; ;m 
example or two may suffice. 

1. The Visitation. In an edition of the Biblia Pauperum, in which thi.s 
subject occurs (the figures in these books, it is to be remembered,, are 
repeated from illuminated medieval MSS.), the parallel subjects art 

K2 



132 



MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III 



1. The Visitation. 

2. The Birth of Christ. 

3. The Adoration of the Kings. 

4. The Circumcision. 

o. The Dispute with the 
Doctors. 

6. The Baptism. 

7. The Transfiguration. 

8. The Last Supper. 

9. The Crucifixion. 

10. The Resurrection. 

11. The appearance of Christ 

to the Marys. 

12. The Incredulity of Thomas. 



13. The Descent of the Holy 
Ghost. 



1. St. Francis takes off his clothes in 

the presence of the bishop, and 
returns them to his father. 

2. The infant Christ appears to the 

Saint on Christmas-eve. 

3. St. Francis supports the falling build- 

ing of the Lateran, according to a 
dream of the pope. 

4. St. Francis kneels before the pope. 

to whom he presents the rules of 
his Order. 

5. St. Francis defends the rules. 

6. St. Francis preaching before the 

Sultan. 

7. St. Francis carried Tip in a chariot 

of fire. 

8. St. Francis receiving the Stigmata. 

9. The Saint restores a man to life. 

10. St. Francis appears to the assembled 

brethren. 

11. A similar representation, in which, 

however, the monks fall prostrate 
with astonishment. 

12. The body of the Saint being placed on 

a bier, a pious disciple examines 
the Stigmata. 

13. One of the followers of the saint 

hangs himself like a second Judas. 



Of these twenty-six panels, twenty only are in the Flo- 
rence Academy, two in the Berlin Museum, and four in 
private hands. 

The Crucifixes painted by Giotto display another and not 
less characteristic form of his art. Such works were the 
touchstone of the painter in the fourteenth century. Two 

Moses visited by Jethro, and the Levite visiting his father-in-law. St. 
Francis visits his spiritual father, who receives him with joy, and hails 
the promise of his second birth. . 

3. The Magi (kings), instructed by a sign, pay homage to one in lowly 
state, who, as they believed, was to restore the supremacy of his nation. 
The pope, a sovereign, instructed by a dream, respects the claims of one in 
humble condition who was destined to support the declining authority 
of the Church. 

6. The Redeemer receives baptism from John. St. Francis seeks martyr- 
dom (called the baptism of blood) at the hands of the Sultan. That he did 
not obtain this, his avowed object, was owing to no want of zeal or even 
provocation on his part. (See the Life of the Saint bv S. Bonaventura. i 
C. L. E. 



Chap. I. GIOTTO AND HIS FOLLOWERS. 133 

Crucifixes still existing the one in S. Marco, the other in 
the Gondi-Dini Chapel of the church of the Ognissanti, 
both at Florence are identified by Signor Cavalcaselle as 
Giotto's. It is needful to know something of the abject and 
degraded form given to this subject in the latter Byzantine 
school, to perceive the extent to which Giotto improved on 
the prevalent type. The figure of our Lord is comparatively 
youthful and erect, conveying the expression of suffering 
without (also comparatively) contortion. He has adhered to 
the mediteval type of the Pelican feeding her young, above 
the Saviour's head ; and the Virgin and St. John on right 
and left, at the extremity of the transverse beam of the cross. 
The skull that typifies Calvary is also seen below. In the 
Gondi-Dini Crucifix, a medallion figure of the youthful 
Saviour in the act of blessing (a relic of the earlier 
Byzantine type) is substituted for the Pelican. 

The frescoes by Giotto formerly in the church of the 
Carmine at Florence the Life of the Baptist were de- 
stroyed by fire in 1771. They had been principally en- 
graved by Thomas Patch, who also preserved fragments of 
the frescoes after the fire. Two heads of disciples belonging 
to the Entombment of the Baptist made their way into 
Mr. Rogers' collection, and thence into the National Gallery. 
These frescoes are supposed to have been executed about 
1330. 

It is an historical fact * that Giotto was invited by King 
Robert of Naples to practise his art in that city in 1330 ; 
and it has been usual to ascribe to his hand the frescoes of 
the Seven Sacraments in the church of the Incoronata at 
Naples. It hardly needed Signor Cavalcaselle's consummate 
knowledge of early Italian art to overturn this idea, as the 
style of these works differs as much from the great master as 
it is inferior to him. This internal evidence is further 
corroborated by the historical fact that the nuptials between 
Louis of Tarentum and Giovanna, Queen of Naples, repre- 
sented in the Sacrament of Marriage, took place eleven years 
after Giotto's death, and that the building itself was not com- 
menced until later still. One undoubted work by Giotto, 
* See Crowe and Cavalcaselle, vol. i. p. 317. 



134 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

however, exists at Naples, in what was formerly the old 
convent of S. Chiara.* Here, at the extremity of a hall 
formerly belonging to the convent, is a large fresco by Giotto, 
representing the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, in re- 
ference to the almsgiving attributes of the Franciscans of 
Naples. This is one of those grand and characteristic com- 
positions which claim for the master the admiration of all 
ages, " combining the idea of charity with the majesty of 
religion ; a sublime mixture of the heavenly and the lowly." 
No other works of the painter are believed to exist in Naples. 
Those in the Castel Nuovo and in the Castel dell' Uovo 
have perished with the walls that contained them. Count 
Gaetani (at Naples) has in his possession two injured panels of 
a Bishop and a Saint, which show their pictorial paternity, but 
no other relics of the master have been discovered. Eeturning 
from Naples, he executed frescoes in the Nunziata, at Gaeta, 
and also at Rimini : all have perished. Finally, he is found 
again at Florence, where, in 1334, he was appointed master 
of the works of S. Maria del Fiore (the Cathedral), and 
architect of the walls of Florence and of the cities within 
the confines of the state. While engaged in this office, he 
designed the beautiful Campanile and also the sculpture with 
which it is decorated, and which was executed by Andrea 
Pisano. In these later years he also visited Milan, by 
invitation of a Visconti, though the frequently devastated 
city affords no relic of his art. A Virgin and Child, in the 
Brera, bears the inscription of " Op. Magister Jocti de 
Flora." The two wings of this picture are in the Gallery 
at Bologna. 

Another picture, with St. Francis receiving the Stigmata, 
painted for S. Francesco at Pisa, and similarly signed, is in 
the Louvre. 

An Entombment of the Virgin, a wide picture, formerly in 
the collection of Mr. Davenport Bromley, is believed to be 
by the master, and may possibly be the work described by 

* " If the visitor to Naples approaches the old convent of S. Chiara in 
the direction of the gate which opens towards the new church 'del 
Gesu,' he will find at No. 23 a furniture shop under the name of Francesco 
Titipaldi. This shop is part of a vast hall appertaining of old to the 
convent." Crowe and Cavalcaselle, vol. i. p. 323. 



Chap. I. GIOTTO AND HIS FOLLOWERS. 135 

Vasari, and, in his time, in the church of the Ognissanti at 
Florence. 

Another work by his hand, a half-figure of the Madonna, 
with small figures kneeling on each side, supported by their 
patron saints signed 1334 is in the Treasury of the Cathe- 
dral at Florence. 

Giotto died in 1336, leaving the fa9ade of the Cathedral 
and the bell-tower incomplete. The facade had been carried 
up two-thirds of its destined height, and was adorned with 
sculpture from his designs, executed by the best hands- 
This facade was destroyed by a Vandal placed in authority, 
of the name of Ugnccione, in 1558. 

If we now examine the style of Giotto, we remark, first, 
that the Byzantine manner is entirely abandoned. There 
appears a peculiar flexibility in the movements, which in 
some is carried even to an excess of elegance, and is parti- 
cularly observable in the flowing and long-drawn folds of 
the drapery. This last peculiarity is characteristic of the 
whole period. It recurs continually as an established type, 
though modified by the peculiarities of the more eminent mas- 
ters ; and, as an architectural influence is everywhere visible 
in the measured forms of the severe style of drapery, we may 
place the above-mentioned treatment in close connection with 
Gothic architecture, to the character of which it corresponds 
universally, and with which it rose and declined. In his 
heads, Giotto frequently exhibits a peculiar and not very 
beautiful type ; the eyes are generally long and narrow, 
and very close to each other. That sweetness and grace 
which, in Duccio's works, for example, appeared to announce 
the approaching development of the highest ideality of 
form, was not one of Giotto's attributes. He, on the con- 
trary, led the spirit of art in another direction. In these 
newly-invented representations, founded on no ancient tra- 
dition, beauty was less his object than the expression of 
character. Here and there, however, we find very graceful 
heads in his pictures, and the whole composition is always 
beautifully disposed in its masses. Where the subject re- 
quired, it is even treated in a peculiarly solemn, simple, 
and harmonious manner. For the first time since the decline 



136 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

of ancient art, we observe a successful attempt at the regular 
disposal of the subject in the space allotted. This Giotto has 
combined with the utmost animation of the whole. The 
execution of the details is, it must be confessed, generally 
sketchy, and, as it were, suggestive : completeness was perhaps 
less essentially allied to his peculiar views as an artist. The 
vehicle he employed with his colours was more fluid than 
that hitherto used ; it allowed a greater freedom of hand, and 
has also darkened but little with time. 

It is impossible to over estimate the influence of Giotto's 
genius. He opened a fountain of Nature to the gifted 
generations who succeeded him in Italy, which permeated 
through the length and breadth of the land, spreading beauty 
and fertility in its course. At the same time there also 
followed, as in the nature of things, a stream of conven- 
tion, in the shape of a multitude of now nameless Giot- 
tesque painters, which grew feeble and more lifeless till 
it expired. No Christian artist can perhaps be quoted who 
raised such a host of imitators, certainly none of whom even 
the names of his imitators have been so completely forgotten. 
Nor does painting only claim him as her reviver. The 
sculpture of the Kenaissance may be said to be in great 
measure his creation. The feeble and mannered sculptors of 
Pisa partook more of the grotesque element. It was Giotto's 
designs for the bronze doors on the north side of the Bap- 
tistery at Florence, and for the subjects on the Campanile, 
executed by Andrea Pisano, which gave a fresh impulse to 
the art an impulse which, springing from a painter, main- 
tained with singular tenacity the picturesque character which 
is one broad distinction between Italian sculpture and the 
antique.* Those interested in the study of Giotto will find 
him nowhere more characteristically himself than in these 
designs. It would be interesting to trace how many of the 
motives admired in the works of later painters have de- 
scended from this great man. Such, for instance, as the 
pathetic action of the Virgin's extended hands in HaphaeTs 
Spasimo, was doubtless created by Giotto, though not, we 

* See 'Essay on Basso-rilievo,' First Series of 'Contributions to the 
Fine Arts,' by Sir C. L. Eastlake. 



Chap. I. GIOTTO AND HIS FOLLOWERS. 137 

believe, discernible in any of his surviving works ; but it 
appears among his followers as in the fresco by Giottino in 
S. Francesco, Assisi, of St. Nicholas Restoring a Girl to her 
Parents, and in the lately uncovered fresco of the Procession 
to Calvary in the sacristy of S. Croce, Florence, and is far 
too fine to have originated with them. 

The most important of Giotto's scholars was Taddeo 
Gaddi son of Gaddo GaddL He was born in the year 1300, 
and was held at the baptismal font by Giotto. When asked, 
in his latter days, to name the greatest painter in Italy, he is 
said to have exclaimed, " Art has fallen very low since the 
death of Giotto" It is certain that he was unequal to carry 
on the development of painting, though he contributed much 
facility of hand and grace of form. Viewed in a general 
sense, he may be said to have returned upon his master's 
steps, instead of taking up where he left off. He even 
reverted, in some instances, to the traditions in art which 
Giotto's genius had discarded. In the Journey of the Wise- 
men it is no longer a star, but a figure of the infant Saviour, 
which is seen to guide them. His figures are long and 
slender, showing that it was he who assisted Giotto in the 
southern transept of the Lower Church at Assisi. His 
extremities are short and coarse. Nevertheless he occa- 
sionally shows a purity and artlessness of expression in 
historical subjects which recall the feeling of Giotto, and 
appears in his best works as an interesting and accomplished 
painter. 

His chief works in fresco occupy two walls of the Baron- 
celli Chapel in S. Croce at Florence, representing the Life 
of the Virgin.* On the lunette, on the side to the left of the 
entrance, is the Expulsion of Joachim from the Temple, a 
subject divided by fine architecture into seven parts.f Four 
compartments below contain the Meeting of Joachim and 
Anna, the Birth of the Virgin, her Dedication and Marriage. 
The wall opposite the entrance is occupied by the Annun- 
ciation, the Salutation, the Angel appearing to the Shep- 
herds, and the Adoration of the Magi. The female figures 

* See Lasinio's ' Old Florentine Masters,' pi. 14-17. 
f See Ottley's ' Florentine Scnool,' Tav. 26. 



138 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

are strikingly graceful, and the general composition fine. 
In the Dedication, where the young Virgin is ascending the 
steps, a man in profile, with a long beard, looking at her, is 
stated by Vasari to represent Gaddo Gaddi, the painter's 
father, and near him, also bearded, is Andrea Tafi. In the 
Marriage, the group of women in attendance is beautiful, 
especially one figure with a diadem, next the Virgin. That 
these frescoes are by the hand of Taddeo Gaddi is a fact 
stated by Vasari, and deriving confirmation from the cha- 
racter of certain panel-pictures, which bear date and name. 
One of these is an altar-piece, now in the Berlin Museum. 
Another altar-piece, also inscribed and dated, is in the 
sacristy of St. Peter's at Megognano, near Poggibonsi. 

Taddeo Gaddi may be also studied in a number of panels 
which adorned the presses of the sacristy at S. Croce. Two 
of these are in the Berlin Museum. The rest, consisting of 
two series, the one the History of the Saviour, the other, that 
of St. Francis, are in the Accademia at Florence. The 
History of St. Francis offers more or less repetitions of the 
frescoes by Giotto in the Upper Church at Assisi. The 
other series is believed to be entirely the work of Taddeo. 
The finest is the subject of the Transfiguration. In the 
altar-piece just mentioned, at Berlin, the legend of St. 
Nicholas of Bari is introduced above. In the subject of the 
Saint Restoring the Young Girl to her Family, the composition, 
with the pretty incident of the little dog recognising her, is 
mainly taken from a fresco by Giottino, so called, in S. 
Francesco at Assisi. 

Taddeo's frescoes in S. Croce, were more numerous even 
than those by Giotto. Excepting the above-mentioned in the 
Baroncelli Chapel, they have all perished. There is one, 
however, remaining in what was formerly the Great Eefec- 
tory now a carpet factory which is assigned, on internal 
evidence, to Taddeo. This is a Last Supper, hitherto attri- 
buted to Giotto,* under a large Crucifixion and Stem of 
Jesse. In this composition, Taddeo has retained or returned 
to the stereotyped form, with the Saviour and the Disciples 

* See illustration in Mrs. Jameson's ' Sacred and Legendary Art,' vol. i. 
p. 261. 



Chap. I. GIOTTO AND HIS FOLLOWERS. 139 

on one side, and Judas sitting alone in front. The four Bide 
pictures from the lives of St. Francis and St. Louis bear 
indications of Taddeo's less pleasing style. 

The frescoes in the Einuccini Chapel (S. Croce) generally 
given to him are of a later date, and believed to be the work 
of his friend Giovanni da Milano. 

The fine picture of the Entombment * in the Accademia at 
Florence, hitherto given to Taddeo, is now suggested by 
MM. Crowe and Cavalcaselle to be by the hand of Nicolo 
di Pietro Gerini, the painter of several pictures at Pisa and 
Prato, who lived nearly a century later. 

The manuscript of a Speculum in the Library of the 
Arsenal at Paris contains one hundred and sixty slightly 
coloured pen-drawings, which reveal the manner of Taddeo. 
They are remarkable for simplicity and dignity of com- 
position and for graceful motives.'!' 

Taddeo Gaddi, like many of his cotemporaries, was an 
architect as well as painter. The inundation of the Arno at 
Florence, in 1333, had ruined bridges and houses, in the 
rebuilding of which the painter, with others, was engaged. 
He furnished the plans of the Ponte Vecchio and of the 
Ponte della Trinita. According to Vasari, he was employed 
on the works of the Or San Michele, and he conducted those 
of the Campanile after Giotto's, death. 

The activity of Taddeo may be compared with that of 
his master, though far fewer of his works survive. His 
frescoes in the convent and cloisters of S. Spirito, the altar- 
pieces in S. Stefano del Ponte Vecchio, the frescoes and 
pictures in the church of the Serviti, the allegories in the 
tribunal of the Mercanzia, have all perished. He laboured 
also at Pisa, where a portion of a series executed in S. 
Francesco, in 1342, still remains. This is chiefly confined 
to the ceiling. He was afterwards called to Arrezzo and 
Casentino, and executed numerous works which have also 
disappeared. No records of his activity appear after 1366, 
about which time he is supposed to have died. He was 
buried in the cloisters of S. Croce. 

* Engraved in Galleria delle Belle Arti, Florence. 

f See Wa-igen's 'Kunst und Kiinstler in Paris,' p. 317. 



140 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

Taddeo left a son called Agnolo Gaddi who, on his death- 
bed, he recommended to Giovanni da Milano for teaching in 
art, and to Jacobo di Casentino for guidance through the 
world. The year of Agnolo's birth is uncertain. He in- 
herited his father's powers, and also developed excellences to 
which Taddeo had not attained. He had more originality, 
less grotesque convention ; his colouring is bright and trans- 
parent, and with a higher sense of relief than that of Taddeo. 
His best and probably earliest works are in the chapel of 
the Holy Girdle (del Sacro Cingolo) in the cathedral of Prato. 
They represent the legends of the Virgin's Life, including 
the story of the Girdle, which, at her Assumption, was caught 
by St. Thomas. The expulsion of her father Joachim from 
the temple, the meeting of her parents, and the dedication, 
are well composed. The marriage of the Virgin is stated by 
MM. Crowe and Cavalcaselle to be one of the finest com- 
positions of the Giottesque school. Agnolo still adhered, 
however, to the false and expressionless type of features. 

His works next in importance and in preservation are the 
series of the History of the Cross,* given in eight frescoes, in 

* The whole story is to be found in the Aurea Legenda. The following 
abridgment of this fable may serve as a specimen of the troubled sources 
from which the early painters derived their inspiration. Adam, being at 
the point of death, desires Seth to procure the oil of mercy (for the extreme 
unction) from the angels who guard Paradise. Seth, on applying for it, 
learns from the archangel Michael, that the oil can only be obtained after 
the lapse of ages (the period announced corresponding with the interval 
from the Fall to the Atonement). Seth receives from the angels, instead, 
a small branch of the tree of knowledge, and is told that, when it should 
bear fruit, Adam would recover. On his return he finds Adam dead, and 
plants the branch on his tomb. The sapling grew to a tree, which 
flourished till the time of Solomon, who had it hewn down for the purposes 
of building ; the workmen, however, found such difficulty in adapting it, 
that it was thrown aside, and now served as a bridge over a lake. The 
Queen of Sheba (the type of the Gentiles), about to cross the bridge, sees 
in a vision the Saviour on the cross, and kneels in adoration. She informs 
Solomon that, when a certain One should be suspended on that tree, the 
Ml of the Jewish nation would be near. Solomon, alarmed, buries the 
fatal wood deep in the earth ; the same spot, in process of time, becomes, the 
pool of Bethesda. Immediately before the Crucifixion the tree rises, and 
floats on the surface of the water ; it is then taken out, and serves for the 
cross. (See the Aurea Legenda under the rubric De Inventione Sanctae 
Crucis.) The legend of the finding of the Cross by the Empress Helena is 
well known. The same story, with some slight variations, is the subject 
of a series of frescoes at Arezzo, by Pietro delta Francesco,. -C. L. E. 

A fuller account of this legend, as connected with art, is given in ' Tho 
History of Our Lord in Art,' vol. ii. p. 385. 



Chap. I. GIOTTO AND HIS FOLLOWERS. 141 

the choir of S. Croce at Florence. One of the most striking 
of the subjects is that of the sick people lying on their beds, 
and drinking water from the pool of Bethesda. Another 
represents the Emperor Heraclius crowned, and with his 
suite, bearing the true Cross, and vainly endeavouring to 
enter the gate of Jerusalem, which is miraculously walled 
up ; the next shows Heraclius stripped to his shirt, and 
bare-footed, carrying the Cross on his shoulder, the gate, 
which was closed to his pride, being now opened to his 
humility. Near him, and near the gate is, according to 
Vasari, the portrait of Agnolo himself, in a red hood, and 
with a small beard. This head still exists. But all these 
frescoes are much injured. 

Agnolo Gaddi, Vasari relates, lived for some time at Venice, 
where he, and Taddeo before him, are stated to have studied 
the ways of the world, in the form of mercantile transactions. 
This occupation may perhaps account for the absence of all 
traces of their art in that city. Agnolo died in 1396, and 
was also buried within the majestic walls of S. Croce. 

Giovanni da Milano, to whom Taddeo Gaddi entrusted 
the instruction of his son Agnolo in art, was born at Milan, 
his real name Giovanni Jacobi. He was long an assistant to 
Taddeo. He also studied Sienese examples, and combines 
something of the warmth of the Sienese school, with that 
Florentine paleness of colour, which we have seen, was an 
attribute of Giotto. Though incapable of advancing the art 
of composition, he contributed to the development of art by a 
sweetness and earnestness of expression, and by a more faithful 
imitation of nature in form and drawing. His joint works 
with Taddeo at Arezzo have perished, and this painter is 
chiefly known by two panel-pictures. Of these an upright 
picture, apparently once the centre of an altar-piece, repre- 
senting the dead Saviour seated on the tomb, and mourned 
by the Virgin, the Magdalen, and St. John, is signed and 
dated 1365.* It is now in the Accademia at Florence. A 
more important work in the Gallery at Prato is an altar- 
piece, with the Virgin enthroned, with four saints, and 
other smaller subjects ; also signed. 

* Engraved in the Galleria delle Belle Arti. 



142 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

Another example, believed to be by his hand, are two 
fragments in the Uffizi, each comprising two or three painted 
niches, with saints in couples, and medallions above, with 
scenes from the Creation ; and below, choirs of martyrs, 
apostles, patriarchs, and prophets. 

The frescoes in the Rinuccini Chapel S. Croce, formerly, 
on Vasari's authority, assigned to Taddeo, are now, by com- 
parison of style, pronounced to be the work of Giovanni da 
Milano. These scenes from the life of our Lord and of 
the Madonna all greatly damaged exhibit his improved 
command over the movement of the human figure and his 
natural and realistic feeling. In the Magdalen Washing the 
Feet of Christ, the two Disciples who suspend their eating to 
listen to the words of the Saviour, are peculiarly natural. 
The same may be said of the scene, where Martha, in her 
desire for the help of Mary, points to the kitchen in the 
distance, where the cook and the fire are seen. The period 
of Giovanni da Milano's death is unknown, but he was admitted 
to the freedom of Florence in 1366. 

Of Stefano Fiorenfino, whom Vasari places on a level with 
Taddeo Gaddi, nothing is known. 

In attempting, however imperfectly, to trace the school of 
Giotto, the historian of art is met by many difficulties. One 
of these consists in the familiar appellations given to 
painters during their lives, and of which contemporary 
records have retained more records than of the baptismal 
name, and still more than of the so-called surname. And 
even these familiar appellations have, in some instances, been 
further familiarised, as with Orcagna, so corrupted from 
" Arcagnolo," a term perhaps of endearment, perhaps con- 
nected with his art, the origin of which is lost. The painter 
Giottino, stated by Vasari to have been born in 1324, is one 
whose real name has eluded search. The utmost believed to 
be known of him being his baptismal name connected with 
that of his father, Tommaso di Stefano and further, the fact 
that certain frescoes in S. Spirito at Florence are stated by 
Ghiberti to have been the work of one Maso, the disciple of 
Giotto, and by Vasari, that of one Giottino, leaving the infer- 
ence that Maso and Giottino were the same man. These 



Chap. 1. GIOTTO AND HIS FOLLOWERS. 143 

frescoes represent the life of S. Silvestro, as given in the 
Golden Legend. Giottino is seen here in the same natural- 
istic path trodden by Giovanni da Milano, but with far higher 
feeling for composition and truth of detail. The same hand 
is recognised in the crypt chapel of the Strozzi under the 
Capella degli Spaguuoli in S. Maria Novella in a fresco 
representing the expulsion of Walter de Brienne on the 
staircase of the present Accademia Filarmonica in the Via 
del Diluvio, Florence in a Pieta now in the Umzi ; and, it 
is also acknowledged, in the scenes of the acts of St. Nicholas, 
in the Lower Church at Assisi, in the Capella del Sacra- 
mento. All of these do honour to the school of Giotto, and 
exhibit the author as his most successful imitator. The 
fresco of St. Nicholas restoring a Girl to her Parents * shows 
the germ of the finest dramatic and realistic feeling. But at 
best, the history of this painter continues wrapped in ob- 
scurity. The works of such pupils as Vasari assigns to him 
have perished ; and, according to the latest investigators, two 
or more painters are believed to have borne the name of 
Giottino. 

We pass over many scholars and imitators of Giotlo, as 
their works contributed nothing to the further progress of 
art : even of those above adduced, none equalled their master 
in greatness of conception. We shall also, for the pre- 
sent, disregard the numerous artists of other schools whose 
style was entirely transformed by Giotto's influence ; return- 
ing to them in due time when we notice the local schools. 

As one of Giotto's contemporaries, however, may be men- 
tioned Pietro Cavallini, the Konian, who flourished about 
the year 1340. His mosaics of the Life of the Virgin on 
the wall of the choir tribune in S. Maria in Trastevere in 
Rome, have been preserved, and exhibit simple and, in 
part, excellent compositions of fine arrangement and careful 
execution. 

The Florentine illuminator, Don Sylvester (a Camaldolese 

monk, about 1350), may be best mentioned here. It is true 

he is more known by Vasari's praise than by his own works, 

though a few drawings cut out of a missal belonging to the 

* Engraved in Ottley's ' Florentine School,' pi. 2J. 



144 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

Convent degli Angeli formerly in the collection of Mr. 
Young Ottley, of London, and now in the Liverpool Institu- 
tion show that the illuminators of the school of Giotto 
were in no way behind the period in dignity and expression. 

One of the most imposing monuments of the early part of the 
fourteenth century, and in great measure identified with the 
school of Giotto, is the great chapter-hall called the Capella 
degli Spagnuoli in S. Maria Novella at Florence. This 
chapel was founded for the celebration of the then newly- 
instituted festival of the Corpus Christi by a rich Florentine 
citizen, Buonamico di Lapo Guidalotti, who died before the 
paintings were completed. Hitherto, adapting Vasari's 
statement, the authorship of these frescoes has been divided 
between Taddeo Gaddi and Simone Memmi (Martini). The 
improved science of criticism, in this instance originating 
with Rumohr, has discarded this assertion, though it has 
not at present led to anything more positive regarding these 
works than that some of them are Giottesque, and may pos- 
sibly owe their composition to Taddeo Gaddl, and their 
execution to another hand; while others bear a Sienese 
character. 

On the altar wall opposite the windows is the subject of 
the Passion, here represented as that event upon which the 
Christian Church is especially founded, the perpetual remem- 
brance of which the Corpus Christi Festival is intended to 
celebrate. The subjects are arranged above and on each 
side of the small apsis in a peculiar manner, being so con- 
trived that the different movements and incidents are not 
separated from each other. On the left is the procession to 
Calvary, coming out of the city, and winding round the hill : 
windows and roofs are swarming with spectators. The 
Virgin, with the other women, is walking dejectedly behind 
the Saviour, who is turning round to her. Above on the hill, 
is the Crucifixion, with the women in a grandly treated group 
on one side. The Virgin is not represented fainting, but 
looking up at the Cross with a mixed expression of anguish 
and resignation. On the other side are horsemen, driving 
back the people, who fly in all directions ; among them is a 
figure in a yellow mantle, perhaps Ahasuerus. Underneath, 



Chap. I. GIOTTO AND HIS FOLLOWERS. 145 

on the right of the apsis, is the descent of Christ into Hell. 
The forms of the patriarchs, which he has set free, are 
expressed grandly, and without any vehemence of impatience. 
The demons are lurking behind a door of rock, with every 
sign of fear. 

The subjects on the wall opposite, through which the 
spectator enters, are almost obliterated, owing to the windows 
having been originally open. According to Vasari, they 
represent the life of St. Dornenick. The episode of the Saint 
preaching is still discernible, as well as that of the resuscita- 
tion of a damsel, who turns with gestures of amazement to 
her mother. 

The fresco which adorns the left wall of the chapel (as 
seen from the entrance) contains an allegorical representation 
of the Wisdom of the Church. In the centre and upper part 
of the composition is St. Thomas Aquinas enthroned between 
the prophets and saints, foremost among whom are Daniel, 
St. Paul, Moses, and St. John the Evangelist, who are seated 
on each side. The splendour with which St. Thomas is 
here invested may be ascribed to the zeal with which he 
promoted the Corpus Christi festival, and to the circumstance 
of his recent canonization. Besides this, it was the object of 
the Dominican order, here in the grandest of their sacred 
edifices, so to represent the apotheosis of their favourite 
Saint as to rival that by which St. Francis of Assisi was 
usually honoured. In contradistinction to that Saint, who 
appears under the form of a mystical comparison with Christ, 
St. Thomas is here made to typify the dominion over this 
world's wisdom and knowledge. In other words, the teaching 
vocation of the Dominicans, as opposed to the contemplative 
vocation of the Franciscans, is here meant to be expressed. 
St. Thomas is seated in solemn tranquillity beneath a rich 
Gothic canopy, holding a book on which appears this Latin 
inscription from the Book of Wisdom (vii. 7, 8), " Wherefore 
I prayed, and understanding was given me : I called upon 
God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her 
before sceptres and thrones, and esteemed riches nothing in 
comparison of her." Angels hover above him ; on each side 
are five seats, occupied by prophets and evangelists. At 

L 



146 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

his feet are three men with books, in crouching attitudes like 
vanquished slaves : they represent the most prominent 
heretics, Arius, Sabellius, and Averrhoes, while the Seven 
Virtues with their symbols hover over the scene. Beneath 
this row of figures are seated fourteen female figures, personi- 
fying the Virtues and Sciences ; at the feet of each, a step 
lower, is a male figure the portrait of some person, whether 
of early or latter times, celebrated for excellence in that 
particular virtue or science. Thus Grammar, with a globe in 
her hand, and teaching three children, has Donatus, who 
excelled in that study, seated writing at her feet. Ehetoric, 
holding a scroll, accompanies Cicero, who has a finely 
intellectual head ; Logic, with a serpent under her veil,* has 
Zeno below her ; Music, Tubal Cain ; Astronomy, Atlas ; 
Geometry, Euclid ; Arithmetic, Abraham (?) Charity, St. 
Augustin ; Faith, Dionysius the Areopagite ; Hope, John of 
Damascus, a fine figure mending his pen ; Practical Theology, 
Boethius ; Speculative Theology, Peter Lombard ; Canon 
Law, Pope Clement V. ; Civil Law, Justinian. These figures 
were grievously repainted at a now distant period, to which 
must be attributed the three hands of Cicero which perplexed 
the Abbate Mecatti writing in 1737. Profound reflection 
and enthusiastic inspiration are happily expressed in each of 
these figures, giving them a certain stamp of grandeur and 
tranquillity. The intellectual head of Cicero, and the melan- 
choly, contemplative countenance of Boethius, are both 
especially remarkable. On the triangular space of the 
groined roof, over these paintings, is represented the Descent 
of the Holy Ghost, the relation of which to the general subject 
is expressed in the inscription on the book which St. Thomas 
Aquinas holds. The scene occurs in an open gallery, while 
below, before the closed door, are standing a group of scoffers. 
While on the wall just described the Church is seen in 
tranquil study, the opposite wall is devoted to a representa- 
tion of her external activity. In the lower part, to the 
left, is a large cathedral-like edifice, in the Italian Gothic 
style. It is, in fact, a representation of the cathedral of 

* In Rosini's engraving, a scorpion. See also his explanation of the 
figures. C. L. L. 



Cftap. 1. GIOTTO AND HIS FOLLOWERS. U7 

Florence, according to the original design, and is here to 
be understood as the symbol of the spiritual Church. Before 
it are seated a Pope and an Emperor, as the highest guardians 
of the Church, with ecclesiastical and temporal rulers near 
them, solemn, dignified figures. Instead of the imperial 
globe, as customary, the Emperor is holding a death's head 
in his hand, as typical of the perishableness of all earthly 
power, when compared with that of the eternal Church. On 
each side, groups of the Faithful stand and kneel. These 
groups consist partly of celebrated men and women of the 
time, partly of the poor and infirm. The community oi 
the Faithful is also represented under the form of a flock oi 
sheep feeding before the feet of the Pope, and guarded by 
two dogs. Further, to the right, is seen St. Domenick 
preaching against the heretics, and converting some of them. 
These are entreating pardon and burning their books. Near 
him the flock is again introduced, but in this instance it is 
attacked by wolves, while the dogs defend it. The dogs are 
all spotted black and white, and thus allude to the dress of 
the Dominicans * (Domini canes), to whom the defence of the 
Church especially belongs. On the same side, higher in the 
picture, are represented the joys and follies of the world, 
dances and the like, and then the conversion and repentance 
of men fettered in earthly pursuits. Above the church is 
seen the door which leads to heaven : St. Peter opens it to 
the Blessed, and permits them to enter Paradise, where 
Christ appears in glory with choirs of angels on either side. 
The treatment of the whole picture is extremely animated ; 
the costume, as was here required, is throughout that of the 
time, and in several of the heads there is a happy attempt at 
individuality. Many names of cotemporary personages 
have been handed down, whose portraits are said to be in the 
picture. The painting on the triangular space above repre- 
sents the ship of the Church (the Navicella) on a stormy sea, 
the same composition which Giotto had executed in mosaic in 
Rome. 

Some of these frescoes, as has been said, bear a Giottesque 

* According to the legend, the mother of the Saint, before his birth, 
dreamt that she brought forth a dog. 

L2 



148 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

character, and others a Sienese. To the latter belong the 
large fresco of St. Thomas Aquinas. It can be shown, 
however, that it is not by Simone Memmi, though, if the 
frescoes at Pisa, assigned to that painter, can be proved to be 
by Andrea da Florentia, it is evident that the four walls of 
the Capella degli Spagnuoli are by the same hand. 

We now turn to a place which is important above all 
others in the history of the art of the fourteenth century, 
namely, the Campo Santo,* or cemetery, of Pisa, a space of 
about four hundred feet in length, and one hundred and 
eighteen in width, enclosed by high walls, and surrounded on 
the inside with an arcade. On the east side is a large chapel ; 
on the north, two smaller ones, and opposite to them on the 
south are the two entrances. This space is said to have 
been filled with earth brought from the Holy Land in the 
beginning of the thirteenth century. The building was 
erected in the course of the same century, by Giovanni. Pisano 
son of the before-mentioned Niccola. The whole of the walls 
from top to bottom were afterwards adorned with large 
paintings. The east chapel was painted in the commence- 
ment of the fourteenth century ; of the works it contained, 
however, there are now no remains. 

The most ancient of the existing frescoes are those on 
the east wall, on the left on coming out of the chapel. 
They represent the Passion of Christ, his Eesurrection, 
his Appearance to the Disciples, and Ascension ; it appears 
that they were executed before the middle of- the fourteenth 
century. A peculiarly grand and imaginative character per- 
vades the representation of the Passion ; the others are 
serious and solemn, particularly where Christ appears to the 
disciples and they touch his wounds. The pictures are rude 
in execution, and are besides much painted over. They are 
ascribed to a certain Buonamico Buffalmaco, whose existence 
though once doubted, is now confirmed by the discovery 
of his name, Buonamico Cristofani, in the register of the 

* C. Lnsinio, ' Pitture a fresco del Campo Santo di Pisa.' (Smaller edition, 
at twelve scudi, subscription price). ' Pitture a fr. del Campo S. di Pisa.' 
disegnato da G. Rossi, ed incise dal Cav. G. P. Lasinio figlio. Firenze (after 
1832). Compare Rosini's ' Descrizione delle Pitture del Campo Santo di Pisa. 



Onap. i. GIOTTO AND HIS FOLLOWERS. 149 

Florentine company of painters, in 1351.* How far he is really 
the author of these early works has not been proved. The 
large pictures which follow on the north wall are more im- 
portant. They belong to the middle of the same century, 
and are the work of a profound and imaginative artist, who 
has succeeded in representing his conception of Life and 
Death in a painted poem, full of the deepest meaning, yet 
requiring neither symbol nor allegory to express the ideas 
contained in it, and the more effective from this direct union 
between the representation and its import. The mind of 
this artist rises indeed above Giotto, whose steps he followed, 
and might be compared to the poet of the Divina Commedia, 
were it not that the very subordinate degree of his technical 
skill places him far below the perfection of Dante's terza- 
rirna. Andrea, son of the Florentine sculptor, Cione, called 
Orgagna, or Orcagna, a corruption of Arcagnolo, has hitherto, 
on the authority of Vasari, been considered the author of 
these grand works. Modern research has not done much 
to settle the question of true authorship, though MM. Crowe 
and Cavalcaselle do their best to claim it for the Sienese 
brothers Giovanni and Pietro Lorcnzctti. 

The first of these pictures is called the Triumph of Death, 
(see woodcut). On the right is a festive company of ladies 
and cavaliers, who, by their falcons and dogs, appear to be 
returned from the chase. They sit under orange-trees, and 
are splendidly dressed ; rich carpets are spread at their feet. 
A troubadour and a singing- girl amuse them with nattering 
songs ; amorini nutter around them and wave their torches. 
All the pleasures and joys of earth are here united. On the 
left, Leath approaches with rapid flight a fearful-looking 
woman, with wild streaming hair, claws instead of nails, 
large bat's-wings and indestructible wire-woven drapery. 
She swings a scythe in her hand, and is on the point of 
mowing down the joys of the company. A host of corpses 
closely pressed together lie 'at her feet ; by their insignia 
they are almost all to be recognised as the former rulers 
of the world kings, queens, cardinals, bishops, princes, 
warriors, &c. Their souls rise from them in the form of 
* See Crowe and Cavalcaselle, vol. i. p. 387, note. 



150 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

new-born infants ; angels and demons are ready to receive 
them; the souls of the Pious fold -their hands in prayer, 
those of the Condemned shrink back in horror. The angels 
are almost like gay butterflies in appearance, the demons have 
the semblance of beasts of prey or of disgusting reptiles. 
They contend with each other for their victims : on the 
right, the angels ascend to heaven with those they have 
saved ; while the demons drag their prey to a fiery moun- 
tain, visible on the left, and hurl the souls down into the 
flames. Next to these corpses is a crowd of beggars and 
cripples, who with outstretched arms call upon Death to end 
their sorrows: but she heeds not their prayer, and has 
already hastened away. A rock separates this scene from 
another, in which is a second hunting party, descending the 
mountain by a hollow path; here again are richly attired 
princes and dames on horses splendidly caparisoned, and a 
train of horsemen with falcons and dogs. The path has led 
them to three open sepulchres in the left corner of the 
picture ; in them lie the bodies of three princes, in different 
stages of decay. Close by, in extreme old age, and sup- 
ported on crutches, stands a monk,* who, turning to the 
princes, points to this bitter " memento mori." They speak 
apparently with indifference of the circumstance, and one of 
them holds his nose from the horrible smell. One queenly 
lady alone, deeply moved, rests her head on her hand, her 
graceful countenance full of sorrow. On the mountain 
heights are several hermits, who, in contrast to the followers 
of the joys of the world, have attained, in a life of con- 
templation and abstinence, the highest term of human 
existence. One of them milks a doe, squirrels play about 
him ; another sits and reads ; and a third looks down into 
the valley, where the remains of the mighty are mouldering 
away. Tradition relates that among the distinguished 
personages in these pictures are portaits of the artist's con- 
temporaries. 

* Intended for St. Macarius (see Vasari, ' Vita di Orgagna') ; the legend 
corresponding with the subject here described is quoted in Douce's 
' Dance of Death.' The first part of the allegory, with the peculiar female 
personification of Death, is evidently borrowed from Petrarch's ' Trionfo 
di Morte.' C. L. E. 




s- 

cs 

5 



Chap. 1. GIOTTO AND HIS FOLLOWERS. 151 

The second representation is the Last Judgment (see 
woodcut). In the composition of this work a symmetrical 
and almost architectural severity prevails, which, however, 
produces a powerful general effect, and yet leaves room for 
varied and spirited motives in the detail. In the centre, 
above, sits Christ in an almond-shaped glory, raising, 
according to traditional usage, his right hand to show his 
wound, and pointing with the other hand to the wound in 
his side, as signs of mercy to the rising Dead. The Virgin 
is seated in glory on the right of the Saviour. On both 
sides sit the Fathers of the Old Testament, the Apostles and 
other Saints next to them, severe, solemn, dignified figures. 
Angels, holding the instruments of the Passion, hover over 
Christ and the Virgin : under them is a group of angels, in 
the strictest symmetrical arrangement, who summon the 
dead from their graves ; two blow the trumpets, a third 
conceals himself in his drapery, apparently shuddering at 
the awful spectacle. Lower down is the earth, where men 
are rising from the graves ; armed angels direct them to the 
right and left. Here is seen Solomon, who whilst he rises 
seems doubtful to which side he should turn ; here a hypo- 
critical monk, whom an angel draws back by the hair from 
the host of the Blessed ; and a youth in secular costume, 
whom another angel leads away from the Condemned to the 
opposite groups. The Blessed and the Condemned rise on 
both sides ; in the gestures of the latter are all the torments 
of despair, the flames of hell rage upon them, and demons 
already seize them by the drapery. It is said that there are 
many portraits of cotemporaries among the Blessed and 
Condemned, but no circumstantial traditions have reached us. 
The attitudes of Christ and the Virgin were afterwards 
borrowed by Michael Angela, in his celebrated Last Judg- 
ment, at Rome ; but notwithstanding the perfection of his 
forms, he stands far below the dignified grandeur of the 
earlier master. Later painters have also taken this ar- 
rangement of the patriarchs and apostles as their model, 
particularly Fra Bartolomeo and Raphael. 

The third representation, directly succeeding the fore- 
going, is the Inferno. It is inferior to the preceding in 



152 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

execution, and even in the composition, in which imagina- 
tion degenerates into the monstrous. Hell is here represented 
in the old form prescribed by the Koman church before 
Dante was born, divided into four compartments rising one 
above the other. In the midst sits Satan, a hideous monster 
himself a fiery furnace out of whose body flames arise in 
different places, in which sinners are consumed or crushed. 
Beside him, in the different compartments, serpents and 
demons torment the Condemned. The whole lower part of 
the picture was badly painted over in the sixteenth century.* 
Next to the picture of Hell, in the Campo Santo, it 
appears that the painter, whoever he was, had intended to 
paint a Paradiso (probably like that in the Strozzi chapel), 
as the termination of a grand cycle.f This design, how- 
ever, was not executed ; in its place is the Life of the 
Hermits in the Wilderness of the Thebais ; this may be 
considered as a continuation of the scene of the Hermits in 
the Triumph of Death. It is a well-filled picture, composed 
of a number of single groups, in which the calm life of 
contemplation is represented in the most varied manner. 
In front flows the Nile ; a number of hermits are seen on its 
shores, who are still subjected to earthly occupation ; they 
catch fish, hew wood, carry burthens to the city, etc. Higher 
up, in the mountain, where the hermits dwell in caves and 
chapels, they are more and more estranged from the concerns 
of the world. But the Tempter follows the spirit of man 
even into the wilderness ; in various forms, sometimes 
frightful, sometimes alluring, he seeks to divert the pious 
from their holy employments ; he appears but twice in his 
well-known serpent form ; he is generally disguised as a 
disputing philosopher, a seducing woman, etc., but always to 
be recognised by his claw feet.| As a whole, this compo- 
sition is constructed in the ancient form (such as we find, 

* The composition in its original state may be seen in an old engraving 
in Morrona's ' Pisa Illustrata.' 

t This would have completed what theologians call the "quatuor 
novissima " (the four last things), Death. Judgment, Hell, and Paradise. 
C. L. E. 

J The representations of the Tempter in early works of art are gene- 
rally to be traced to classic sources ; in this instance the talons may have 
been suggested by the form of the Sirens. >C. L. E. 



Chap. I. GIOTTO AND HIS FOLLOWERS. 153 

for instance, in Byzantine art) : several series of representa- 
tions rise above each other, the upper and more distant 
being of equal size with the lower. The picture thus fails, as 
a matter of course, in perspective and general effect ; but as 
the artist makes no pretension to this kind of excellence, the 
spectator is unconscious of the defect ; the single represen- 
tations, on the other hand, are executed with much grace and 
feeling. 

These three frescoes, successively described, are now, 
after careful investigation, ascribed to one and the same 
hand. Orcagna is entirely dismissed from the honours of 
the Campo Santo,* not only because the style of these 
frescoes does not correspond with that of his known works, 
but because it evinces a Sienese rather than a Florentine 
character, and Pietro Lorenzetti, misnamed by Vasari Pietro 
Laurati, is suggested in his place. That this painter 
executed the fresco of the Hermits is historically known, 
and his hand is considered to be traceable in the two 
others.j Into these surmises, however solidly founded, we 
need not enter. The fresco of the hermits adjoins the 
first entrance to the Campo Santo. Between it and the 
second are represented the story of S. Eaniero, the patron 
Saint of Pisa, and that of SS. Efeso and Potito.| Each story 
consists of six compartments three occupying the upper, 
and three the lower half of the wall. After having been for 
centuries ascribed to Simone Memmi, whose name, like that 
of Giotto, has been attached to numerous works of forgotten 
parentage, it has been ascertained by a receipt of payment, 
dated 1377, that the three upper pictures of the legend of St. 
Eaniero were the work of one Andrea da Florentia, the three 
lower ones that of Antonio da Venezia, about the year 1386. 
These last frescoes show a far higher feeling for beauty and 
precision of form than those above them. 

The histories of SS. Efeso and Potito on the south wall 

* See E. Forster, ' Beitrage,' p. 109, where, in support of this view, 
the freer, but also ruder style of the pictures in the Campo Santo is com- 
pared with the finish and grace of those in S. Maria Novella. 

f Crowe and Cavalcaselle, vol. i. p. 451. 

j See the ' Acta Sanctorum,' Jan. vi. pp. 753, 997. C. L. E. 

Crowe and Calvacaselle, vol. i. p. 483. 



154 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTUR5T. Book III. 

(the lower half being almost entirely obliterated) were 
painted by Spinello da Arezzo in 1391, the story of S. Efeso 
occupies the upper portion. The Saint, a Pagan by birth, 
is seen before the Emperor Diocletian, who promotes him to 
a high command against the Christians ; when the Lord 
appears to him and forbids the enterprise. Efeso, accord- 
ingly, turns his arms against the unconverted Sardinians, 
receiving a banner of victory (here inscribed with the arms 
of Pisa) from the Archangel Michael, who, with his angels, 
accompanies him to the fight. Subsequently, the Saint 
appears as a captive before the Pagan Prator of Sardinia, 
and is condemned to the flames. He escapes these by a 
miracle, and is finally decapitated. 

The records of the Campo Santo prove that Spinello 
completed these works in March 1392 (according to present 
reckoning in 1393). 

The history of Job (see woodcut) occupies a third part of 
the south wall at the eastern end. After the usual ascrip- 
tion to Giotto, this portion is now, from the evidence of 
records, believed to have been the work of one Francesco da 
Volterra, a Giottesque painter, long settled in Pisa, * and 
possibly identical with Francisco da Maestro Giotto, whose 
name is inserted in the Florentine guild in 1341 ; at all 
events, it is certain that the work was commenced on the 4th 
August, 1371. The story is painted in a double course, and 
divided into six large compartments, now greatly cut into 
by the Algarotti monument, and showing a grand and 
animated treatment. The series begins from the top, near 
the western entrance, with the subject of Job feasting with 
his friends and feeding the poor, while shepherds and herds 
are grouped around. One of the most striking of the subjects 
is that of Satan a horned monster with the wings of a bat 
and hoofs of an ox pleading before the Almighty (see wood- 
cut). Injured and restored as all this series is, it is evident 
that the master possessed no small power of expression, and 
a facility for imitating the appearances of nature and the 
forms of animals. 

The west wall exhibits only inferior works of a later time. 
* Crowe and Cavalcaselle, vol. i. p. 392-3. 







SCF-NE FROM THE HISTORY OF JOB ; a fresco in the Campo 
Santo at Pisa, by Francesco daVolterra 

p. 151. No. 2. 



Chap. I. GIOTTO AND HIS FOLLOWERS. 155 

On the north wall are subjects from the Creation to the 
Deluge,* ascribed formerly to Buffabnaco, but now known 
to be the work of Pietro, son of Puccio of Orvieto. These 
paintings, executed in the last ten. years of the fourteenth 
century, represent the First Person of the Trinity, bearing 
the Globe of the World ; the Creation of Man ; the Fall and 
its consequences ; the Death of Abel, the Death of Cain, and 
the Deluge : they evince a serious feeling in holy subjects, 
and, at the same time, a cheerful, natural treatment of the 
circumstances of life. They are also remarkable for tech- 
nical merits, particularly for an harmonious arrangement 
of colour. A Coronation of the Virgin, on the same wall, 
over the door of the second chapel, is also by this urtist : 
little more than the design is now visible, in which, 
however, a grand and enthusiastic character is still to be 
recognised.f 

Political circumstances hindered the progress of the 
works in the Campo Santo. It was not till the second half 
of the fifteenth century that the embellishments were con- 
tinued, when the whole north wall, with the exception of the 
portion occupied by Pidro di Puccio, was embellished with 
the large and splendid frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli. These 
were executed between the year 1469 and 1485. They form 
a continuation both in situation and subject of the works 
of Pletro, and represent the history of the Old Testament 
from the time of Noah to the visit of the queen of Sheba, in 
a thronged and overflowing series. These richly illustrate 
this master's peculiar powers, they are twenty-one in 
number. We shall reach Benozzo Gozzoli in the chrono- 
logical progress of art. 

* Some of these, as usual, are apocryphal ; for example, the Death of 
Cain. For a description of this subject, as represented by the early Italian 
painters, see Comestor, 'Hist. Scholastica Gen.', c. 28; Hottinger, 'Hist. 
Orientalis,' p. 24, gives its source. C. L. E. 

f The name of 1'ictro di Puccio d' Orvieto represents an epoch in the 
technical history of painting. His works, above mentioned, in the Campo 
Santo of Pisa, are considered, on good grounds, to be the earliest examples 
of fresco-painting, properly so called. See E. Forster, ' Beitrage,' p. 220. 
C. L. E. 

For a description of the imperfect fresco-painting previously, and perhaps 
anciently in use, see Eastlake's ' Materials for a History of Oil Painting,' 
1847, p." 142. 



156 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

Not the least important or numerous class of artists in the 
fourteenth century were the goldsmiths, whose works adorned 
the altars of churches and the banquetting tables of princes 
and wealthy citizens. But it is in the nature of things that 
articles in gold and silver should elude preservation. The 
Florentines were bankers to the majority of European 
princes; yet even at Florence the amount of money in 
circulation fell occasionally far below the demand, so that 
in all great enterprises of war or piety the melting or 
pawning of plate and jewellery was the common resource. 
Thus it is that but few specimens of the goldsmith's art have 
descended to us, and nothing remains to represent the skill of 
the Florentine goldsmith done except the silver altar-table of 
the Baptistery of S. Giovanni, in the execution of which he 
took a part. This Clone was the father of several sons who 
all worked as architects, sculptors, or painters. His most 
eminent son was Andrea, known in his time as L'Areagnolo 
a name afterwards corrupted to that of Orcagna. The 
date of his birth is unknown, but records prove that his wife 
survived him in 1376. 

Orcagna is believed not to have known Giotto, though the 
mantle of the great master seems to have fallen more directly 
on him than on any of Giotto's pupils. This is not so 
much intended as indicating any identity of style, as the pos- 
session of those conditions which tended to the general 
progress of art. Like Giotto, Orcagna was at once a painter, 
a sculptor, and an architect tradition also makes him a poet ; 
and, while upholding the great Giottesque maxims of truth 
and simplicity, he introduced that softer religious sentiment 
which found its culminating point in Fra Angelica. From 
the school of Florence he derived his sterner qualities, from 
that of Siena the tenderness which tempered them. Accord- 
ing to Vasari, Orcagna received his teaching in sculpture 
from Andrea Pisano (da Pontedera), who executed works in 
bronze and marble from Giotto's designs an assertion which 
the tabernacle in Or San Michele corroborates. Thus through 
him Orcagna may be said to have been inspired by Giotto 
in that art. His immediate master in painting is unknown. 

The choir of S. Maria Novella, in Florence, was originally 



Chap. I. GIOTTO AND HIS FOLLOWERS. 157 

decorated with frescoes by Orcagna, No record of their 
date remains, except the tradition that they were damaged by 
a storm in 1358. A. century later their disfigured remains 
were covered by Ghirlandajo's great work, the History of 
the Madonna and of the Baptist, in which that master 
is believed to have introduced some of Orcagna's incidents. 

The date of Orcagnas frescoes in the Strozzi chapel, 
S. Maria Novella, is equally uncertain. He painted on the 
three principal walls the Last Judgment, the Paradiso, and 
the Inferno. The Last Judgment has the usual traditional 
arrangement, but the figure of our Lord shows so far an 
advance in the liberty of art that it is not confined within 
the limits of an aureole ; while in the figures of the angels 
he even attempted foreshortenings which place him at the 
highest level attainable without the knowledge of perspec- 
tive. In the group of female dancers, though little more 
than outlines remain, may be traced the germ of those grace- 
ful figures which charm us in Fra Angelica's conceptions of 
the Blessed. The ' Paradiso' what remains of it is full 
of interest for the student of dawning art. The two angels 
at the foot of the throne, playing on musical instruments, 
are especially grand and graceful. These two frescoes are 
much defaced by damp and restorations, and the ' Inferno ' 
is completely repainted. 

It is surmised that these works were completed previous to 
1354, which is the date of the contract for Orcagna'a altar- 
piece in the same chapel. By this contract, preserved in 
the Strozzi family, the painter engages to finish the picture 
in a year and eight months. The picture is signed, and 
dated 1357, proving that he did not fulfil that condition. It 
consists of five compartments, with a predella in three divisions. 
The principal subject is our Lord enthroned within a glory 
of seraphim and cherubim, giving the gospels to St. Thomas 
Aquinas on the right, and the keys to St. Peter on the left. 
Like all the early great painters Orcagna is seen to more 
advantage in his frescoes than in his panel paintings. The 
hand of the painter is again recognised in a picture which 
hangs on the first pilaster on the left, on entering the 
northern portal of the Cathedral at Florence. This repre- 



158 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

sents S. Zanobio, the patron saint of the city, enthroned, with 
SS. Crescenzio and Eugenio kneeling at his side : also with 
predella. Another picture in the Medici chapel in S. Croce is 
of the same class. It is in four compartments, with the 
figures of the Fathers of the Latin church. Two pictures in 
the same chapel, and others, scattered in Florentine churches, 
are also possibly by his hand. 

The altar-piece by Orcagna, formerly in S. Piero Maggiore, 
in Florence, is now in the National Gallery. Most of the 
painter's characteristics are traced in its numerous parts, 
and not least, the feeling which culminated in Fra Angclico. 

Orcagna's fame as a sculptor rests upon the tabernacle of 
Or San Michele. The bas-reliefs on this monument may be 
said to be the finest produced in the fourteenth century. That 
representing the Assumption of the Virgin is especially 
remarkable for a vigour of character which points to the 
vicinity of the sculpture on the Campanile and on the bronze 
gates of the Baptistery. The tabernacle in all its parts was 
designed by Orcagna, and the light and graceful proportions 
of the stone-work, and even the beauty of the iron railing, all 
combine to attest his varied powers, and also his sense 
of a whole. The inscription shows that it was completed 
in 1359. 

Orcagna was employed in an architectural capacity in the 
works of the cathedral at Orvieto ; he also executed a mosaic 
for the front of the building. The last record as yet discovered 
relating to him is his enrolment in the guild of St. Luke, at 
Florence, in 1369. He is known to have died in Florence. 

Bernardo Clone was the elder brother of Orcagna. The 
discovery that the frescoes in the Campo Santo are by 
another hand than that of Orcagna equally refutes Vasari's 
statement that Bernardo assisted in them. Nor is there any 
appearance of a second hand either in them or in the frescoes 
of the Strozzi -chapel, though Vasari also states him to have 
been Orcagna's collaborator there. No pictures indeed exist 
which can be with certainty ascribed to him, though certain 
works signed " Bernardus de Florentia " suggest a possible 
identity between the painter who thus signed himself 
and Bernardo, the son of done, A tryptich, thus signed, is 



Chap. I. GIOTTO AND HIS FOLLOWERS. 159 

in the Academy at Florence ; a Virgin and Saints, similarly 
identified, is in the convent of the Ognissanti ; a third work, 
a Crucifixion with eight Saints, was in the late Mr. Daven- 
port Bromley's collection. 

Francesco Traini is stated by Vasari to have been a 
scholar of Orcagna. This fact has been contested by other 
writers, but no certainty has been arrived at. The only 
works by him preserved at this time are two altar-pieces at 
Pisa the one St. Thomas Aquinas triumphing over the here- 
tics, in the church of S. Catherine, the other the history of St. 
Domenick, in the Academy of Arts. The latter especially 
shows a painter of merit, with more of the Sienese than 
the Florentine feeling. This altar-piece was completed 
in 1346. 

The art of Niccola Tommasi, by whom a tryptich exists 
in S. Antonio Abbate at Naples, executed in 1371, exhibits 
some resemblance to that of Orcagna, and it has been con- 
jectured that he was his pupil. 

Bernardo Nello di Giovanni Falcone, and Tommaso di 
Marco are both placed by Vasari in the school of Orcagna. 
No work by either is now traced. 

Puccio Capanna is a name which Vasari designates as 
that of a pupil and fellow-labourer of Giotto, and whose signa- 
ture, " Puccio da Fiorenza," he reports to have been inscribed 
on a crucifix in S. Domenico at Pistoia. That he is not a 
mere name is proved by evidence which, in the case of many 
an Italian painter, stands in lieu of a baptismal register 
namely, by the entry of his admission into the Florentine 
guild, in 1349. Of his reputed 'works, in obscure frescoes, 
few exist, and they aiford no clue to one supposed to be in- 
spired by Giotto. Scenes from the life of our Lord, hitherto 
ascribed to Puccio, in the lower church of Assisi, are now 
claimed for Giotto himself scenes from the lives of the 
Magdalen, and St. Mary of Egypt, evidently by a pupil 
of Giotto, and therefore possibly by Puccio, have been 
ascribed to Buffalmaco. The removal of whitewash may 
bring to light works of more positive identity, meanwhile 
Puccio, with other reputed scholars of Giotto, Guglielmo da 
Forli, Ottariano, and Pace da Faenza, furnish no sufficient 



160 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III 

materials for present study. On the other hand, works of a 
common Giottesque type at Forli and near Faenza are now 
identified by records as belonging to painters hitherto 
unmentioned in history to a certain Baldassare da ForTi,* 
to Pietro da Rimini, and others too insignificant to dwell 
upon. 

Jacopo da Cassentino has been mentioned as sharing with 
Gio. da Milano in the education of Agnolo Gaddi, but while 
Gio. da Milano may be classed among those who led up to 
Masaccio and Fra Angelico, the successors of Jacopo da 
Casentino represent in some measure the decline of the 
school of Giotto. Jacopo became acquainted with Taddeo 
Gaddi when that painter was engaged in decorating the 
chapel of the church of Sasso della Verma, in Casentino, and 
followed him to Florence. There he is recorded to have 
worked on the walls and ceiling of Or San Michele, and on 
three tabernacles. The vestiges seen in Or San Michele show 
a weak and coarse Giottesque hand. In Arezzo also relics 
of him are found of the same unattractive character. The 
most interesting specimen of his hand is the altar-piece with 
the life of John the Baptist, now in the National Gallery, 
where the coarseness of colour and absence of all grace and 
feeling are redeemed by a certain energy of action, as seen 
in the predella. The fact also that the Guild of Painters at 
Florence was founded by Jacopo da Casentino, in 1349, shows 
an energetic character in other respects. This is further 
attested by Vasari's statement that he was employed in 
Arezzo in 1354 to restore a conduit, originally erected by 
the Romans, on which occasion he built the fountain, called 
the Fonte Guinizelli. He is also celebrated for one scholar 
who redeems the decline of his school, namely, Spinello 
da Arezzo, who represents the spirit of Giotto at the close of 
the fourteenth century better than any other painter of the 
time. The dates equally of Jacopo's birth and death are 
not recorded, but it is known that he died at 80 years of age. 

Spinello Aretino, or da Arezzo, of a Ghibelline family which 
had taken refuge in Florence, may be studied in the sacristy 
of S. Miniato, above Florence, in the Life of St. Benedict in 

* Crowe and Cavalcaselle, vol. i. p. 376-385. 



Chap. I. GIOTTO AND HIS FOLLOWER'S. 161 

the Campo Santo at Pisa, in the histories of SS. Efeso and 
Potito, and in the Palazzo Pubblico at Siena. As is the case 
with most of the early Florentine painters, he is seen to greater 
advantage in his frescoes than in his panel pictures. Like 
Orcagna, he combined the Sienese with the Florentine element, 
while his feeling for fine action and composition and breadth 
of drapery followed in the steps of Giotto. He lived a long 
and active life, of which but few dates have been preserved. 
In Florence, he painted in the choir of S. Maria Maggiore, 
in two chapels of the Carmine, and in other churches, all of 
which examples have yielded to various forms of destruction. 
In Casentino and Arezzo he also undertook extensive works. 
Two figures of SS. James and Philip, on an altar to the left 
of the entrance in S. Domenico, in Arezzo, are fine specimens 
of his powers. Also a colossal Trinity in a tabernacle above 
the door leading to the Compagnia della Misericordia at 
Arezzo. His frescoes at S. Maria degli Angeli at Arezzo, 
the history of Lucifer and the Fall of the Angels (see 
woodcut) are most associated with his name, and have, 
with the church they decorated, been recently destroyed.* 
The story related by Vasari, and since repeated and handed 
down by every historian of art of Spinello's having died 
of fright from an apparition of Lucifer himself, who called 
him to account for painting him too black, is now over- 
turned by the fact that the painter lived many years after 
the repiited vision, and died at his native place at the 
comfortable age of ninety-two. In the Farmacia attached to 
S. Maria Novella at Florence, a room called the ' Stanza 
delle Acque' exhibits frescoes illustrative of the Passion, 
proved to have been executed by Spinello in 1405, when he 
was nearly eighty. These frescoes show the extensive 
employment of pupils. He is believed to have died in 1418. 
His son and scholar, Parri Spinelli, was a painter of whose 
art, though it will not reward research, there are abundant 
relics ; more frescoes, unfortunately, having been preserved 
in Italy calculated to throw light on inferior painters than 
on those of a higher class. 

* Three heads from this fresco, transferred to canvas, belong to the 
Right Hon. A. H. Layard, and were exhibited at Manchester. 

M 



162 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURA Book III. 

Niccolo di Pietro Gerini was also a scholar of Spinello. 
There are examples of this diligent, and in some respects, 
meritorious painter at Pisa and at Prato : his last work at 
Pisa bears date 1401. His son Lorenzo di Niccolo was a weak 
edition of his father. He has left an altar-piece with predella, 
the Coronation of Jthe Virgin, and Adoration of the Magi, in 
S. Domenico at Cortona, given to that church, according to 
an inscription on it, by Cosmo and Lorenzo di Medici, for 
the souls of themselves and their progenitors, and dated 
1440. 

This art, such as it was, was taken up by the family of 
the Bicci, consisting of three generations Lorenzo di Bicci, 
Bicci di Lorenzo, and Nero di Bicci the last dying in 1486, 
who repeated the types of Giotto in forms of prolific medio- 
crity. 

A retrospect of the Florentine school exhibits to us the 
genius of its founder, Giotto, in its true greatness. We have 
now advanced more than a century since Giotto's first appear- 
ance as a painter, and even his greatest followers, Orcagna 
and Spinello, have not essentially progressed beyond the 
limits which he reached. His mode of viewing life his 
conception of forms -pervades their works ; and great and 
rich as these works may be, they are only an additional 
testimony to the influence which Giotto exercised over this 
period.* All that is new in the productions of his successors 
is chiefly confined to that beauty of heads and mildness of 
expression which begins with the Gaddi, and finds its highest 
development in Orcagna' 's Paradise. In other masters it 
already degenerates into insipidity. This aim, however, in 
no way affects the spirit of the school, nor diminishes the 
characteristic and dramatic animation for which it is distin- 
guished. 

* Rumohr, in his ' Ital. Forsch.', vol. ii. p. 400, endeavours to show that 
this slowness of development was owing to those associations in which 
artists formerly united themselves, and especially to the long-protracted 
dependence of the pupil upon the master. 



Chap. II. TUSCAN SCHOOLS. 163 



CHAPTEE II. 

TUSCAN SCHOOLS. SIENESE MASTERS AND THEIR FOLLOWERS. 

DUCCIO. 

WE have already mentioned the name of Duccio di Buonin- 
segna as one which holds a high position in the annals of 
early Italian art. He was the son of a Sienese citizen, and 
his career begins after both Cimabue and Giotto. He was 
the first great painter in Siena, and though influenced strongly 
by Byzantine examples, he infused into them a grace peculiar 
to himself, and which continued to be the characteristic of 
the Sienese school. Some of his conceptions of sacred 
subjects, in which he has retained the choicest traditional 
forms, may be said never to have been surpassed. The date 
of his birth is unknown. According to some accounts he 
was an established painter in Siena in 1282. At all events 
it is certain that in 1308 he undertook the execution of a 
large panel picture, 14 feet wide by 7 feet high, representing 
the Virgin and Child enthroned, with numerous saints and 
angels, and with four bishops kneeling in front. This work, 
richly covered with ornaments in gold, was completed in 
1310, and carried in pomp, like that by Cimabue, from the 
studio of the painter to the Cathedral of Siena. There it 
still remains, though dismembered of parts, and sawn asunder 
in thickness. For the back of the panel was equally the 
field of Duccio's labours, in a series of twenty-six scenes from, 
the life of our Lord.* This series, as MM. Crowe a"nd 
Cavalcaselle observe, are for Duccio what the chapel of the 
Arena at Padua is for Giotto, bearing the impress of a 
vigorous reform in art, and embodying principles of dramatic 
action and expression which may be said to have endowed 
several generations of his followers. The figures here are 
* Published in outline by Dr. E. Braun. Rome, 1847. C. L. E. 

11 2 



164 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

about nine inches high, and the series commences with the 
Entry into Jerusalem (see woodcut), a composition of great 
animation, partaking of the character of a miniature. St. 
Peter denying our Lord, and Christ before Pilate, are also 
scenes of peculiar interest. The Crucifixion, which occupies 
a larger space in the centre, is remarkable for the angels 
which, according to early usage, surround the upper part 
of the cross, and by their dramatic gestures of sorrow 
convey in the most touching and natural manner the fact 
that the Great Sacrifice was consummated. But the com- 
position most illustrative of classic tradition, and of Duccio's 
application of it, is that of the Angel at the Sepulchre with 
the three Maries approaching (see woodcut). 

A work by Duccio, a Crucifixion, with other subjects, second 
only to the altar-piece at Siena, is in the collection of the 
late Prince Consort. 

'A Virgin and Child between SS. Domenick and Catherine 
is in the National Gallery. 

Dticcio's career closes in 1320, after which no record has been 
discovered of him, while pictures described as by his hand 
have either perished, or been so entirely modernized as not 
to be identified. The characteristics of Duccio which the 
Siencse school more especially retained were a certain grace 
and sweetness, a gay, light colouring devoid of relief, and 
a feeling for elaborate ornament which degenerated into mere 
mechanical labour. 

Ugolino da Siena is a name attached to an altar-piece 
executed in the beginning of the fourteenth century for S. Croce 
at Florence. This picture passed, after customary vicissitudes, 
into the Ottley collection, since dispersed, and portions of it 
still exist in the possession of the Rev. John Fuller Russell, 
near Enfield. .The style of these portions forms a transition 
from the severer forms of Duccio to the softer feeling of 
Simone Hemmi (Martini). 

Modern research has elicited several Ugolinos belonging 
to Siena. One Ugolino di Pietro painted there in 1324. 
Another, Ugolino Vieri, a goldsmith, executed the silver 
shrine, ' del Santo Corporale,' in the Cathedral at Orvieto. 
But the name best known is that of Ugolino di Prete Ilario, 




CHRIST'S ENTRY INTO JEKDSAL1 
Compartment from a large altarpiece by Duccio of Siena 



p. 164. No. 1. 



Chap. II. TUSCAN SCHOOLS. 165 

who painted the frescoes in the chapel of the S. Corporale 
in the same cathedral, which are signed, " Ugolinus pictor di 
Urbe veteris" (Orvieto), and dated 1364. These exhibit 
Sienese art of an ordinary stamp. 

Segna is the name of another early Sienese who adhered 
to the older forms without infusing into them sufficient life 
and originality to advance the cause of art. A picture, on 
which his signature " Hoc opus pinxit Segna Senensis "- 
has recently been discovered, exists in the church of 
Castiglione Fiorentino, not far from Arezzo, and forms the 
principal specimen of the master. It represents the Virgin 
and Child, with saints and angels, and with four donors, the 
names being inscribed under each figure. Mona (Madonna) 
A" anna is on the left ; behind, her husband, Goro di Fino ; 
Mona Miglia on the right ; behind, Fino di Bonajuncta. 
Another inscribed picture by the master his name on the 
sword of St. Paul is in the Sienese Academy. One specimen, 
a Crucifixion, is in the National Gallery. 

One Niccolo di Segna has a signed picture of a Cruci- 
fixion in the Academy at Siena, but he assumes no further 
importance. 

Second to Duccio, as heading the school of Siena, is 
Simone Martini, born at Siena, 1283. He married the 
daughter of one Memmi di Filipucdo, a painter, father of 
Lippo Memmi, facts which are supposed to account for 
the name Memmi given him by so easily satisfied an in- 
vestigator as Vasari. Nor are there any grounds for 
believing that he was Giotto's pupil, for which no evidence, 
either in the life or style of Simone, exists, who was a 
strictly Sienese painter, formed on the manner developed by 
Duccio. 

It is worthy of remark, that while the fame of Giotto is 
enshrined in the verse of Dante, that of Simone Martini 
receives the same tribute from Petrarch,* who further pays 
homage to both the great painters in his letters. " I have 

* See ' Rime di Fr. Petrarca,' vol. i. p. 57. Jlilau, 1834, 12mo. Sonnets 
49, 50. Notwithstanding his friendship for Simone, Petrarch seems to 
have had a still higher admiration for Gictto; this appears from the terms 
in which he bequeaths a work by that painter, as a valued possession, to 
Francesco Vecchio di Carrara, the sovereign of Padua. C. L. E. 



166 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

known two painters, talented both, and excellent, Giotto of 
Florence, whose fame amongst the moderns is great, and 
Simone of Siena." * 

The large and elaborate fresco in the Palazzo Pubblico at 
Siena, enclosed in a border of medallions and armorial shields, 
is now believed to be an early work by Simone.^ The 
subject is the Madonna and Child, under a great canopy 
borne by citizens, with numerous saints and angels attending. 
The medallions in the centre, above and below, and at the 
corners, are also filled with sacred subjects. In the centre 
of the lower border is a partly obliterated inscription of four 
lines, beginning with the date, " mille tre cento e quindici," 
and ending with the word " Symone." This fresco has 
hitherto been attributed to an obscure painter, by name Mino, 
who was supposed to have executed it in 1289. In addition 
to the evidence of the inscription it is now proved that the 
present walls of the building did not exist at that time. The 
character of the work shows that aim at grace and tenderness 
in the female heads which in the Sienese school was strongly 
contrasted with the gravity of the male heads. The actions 
of some of the kneeling figures are good, the colour of the 
faces white and red, with spots of carmine on the cheeks like 
dolls. The execution is minute and careful, but flat and 
without effect, like a magnified miniature, and the composition 
lacks the fine distribution of the Florentine school. It is 
known that six years after its completion, eight of the heads 
required to be cut out and repainted, and that this operation 
was executed by Simone, though the causes that led to it 
are unknown. These eight heads, which are distinguishable, 
corroborate the belief that the same hand executed the whole 
work. 

Many years later, in 1328, Simone painted, in the Sala del 
Consiglio, a fresco representing the equestrian figure of a 
military commander, which shows his power in the concep- 
tion of a portrait. These are the only two frescoes by him 
now preserved in his native city. One on the Duomo and 
two on the Spedale have perished. 

* ' Opera,' vol. ii. p. 725. Epist. 17, lib. v. 
t See E. Forster, ' Beitrage,' p. 166, &c. 



Chap. II. TUSCAN SCHOOLS. 1G7 

Of his panel pictures the earliest of note was painted by 
him, in 1320, for the high altar of St. Catherine at Pisa. 
This now exists in several portions, some of them in the 
library of the Seminario Vescovile of old St. Catherine's, 
Pisa, others in the Pisa Academy. Under the central group 
of the Virgin and Child is his signature, " Syinon de Senis." 
The graceful and tender type of this painter, as opposed to 
the masculine vigour of Giotto, is peculiarly remarkable in 
this work. 

Another signed picture, of about the same time, was 
executed for S. Domenico at Orvieto, and is now in the 
" Fabbrica " of the cathedral. It represents Trasmundo, 
Bishop of Savona, kneeling before the Virgin with attendant 
Saints. This was one of the few archaic pictures which 
made a journey to Paris, and was returned at the Peace. 
Another altar-piece which, though unsigned, is ascribed to 
the master, is in the same place. Simone is known also as 
the author of a picture in S. Lorenzo Maggiore at Naples, 
with St. Louis, Archbishop of Toulouse, crowning his kneel- 
ing brother Robert of Naples. This is much injured. 

But it is at Assisi that Simone must be studied, in his 
frescoes, where he comes into immediate comparison with 
Giotto. The frescoes in the chapel of S. Martino, executed 
for Cardinal Gentile, are now, on internal evidence, entirely 
assigned to his hand. In the vaulting of the arch by which 
the chapel is entered are eight saints in niches. S. Chiara, 
and St. Elizabeth of Hungary, with S. Sirus, Eex, and 
St. Louis of Toulouse on one side ; the Magdalen and St. 
Catherine of Alexandria, SS. Anthony and Francis, on the 
other. The subjects commence on the left of the entrance in 
a double course, and represent the history of St. Martin ; be- 
ginning with the episode of the Saint on horseback cutting 
off part of his garment for a beggar, and ending with his 
death and obsequies. These works are fine in intention, 
especially that of the Saint leaning his head on his hand, 
while a figure kneels before him. Above the door is seen 
Cardinal Gentile in frock and cowl, his cardinal's hat on a 
balustrade behind him. He is being raised by St. Martin 
from his kneeling position. In the portrait character, and 



168 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

simple action of these two figures Simone is seen to more 
advantage than in the greater complication of the other 
subjects. 

In 1333, Simone completed for the altar of S. Ansano, in 
the Duomo at Siena, the Annunciation, now preserved, though 
much injured, in the Uffizi. In the inscription, which gives 
the date, the name of Lippo Memmi, his brother-in-law, is 
added to his own. As two hands are not discernible in this 
picture, it is supposed that the ornamental gilded portions 
were the work of Lippo. 

It has been seen that the frescoes in the Campo Santo at Pisa, 
hitherto attributed to Simone, are by another and far inferior 
hand, and, moreover, proved by records to have only been 
commenced thirty years after Simone's death. His alleged 
participation in the Capella degli Spagnuoli is now equally 
set aside. He lived chiefly at Siena, and is known to have 
acquired competence by his successful industry. In 1338 
he was induced, with his wife and brother, to transfer his 
residence to the Papal Court at Avignon. According to 
Vasari this removal was attributable to Pandolfo Malatesta, 
who sent the painter to Avignon expressly to paint the por- 
trait of Petrarch. He, at all events, enjoyed the friendship 
of the poet at Avignon, and is recorded to have painted the 
portrait of Laura in a fresco of St. George and the Dragon, 
once in the poiiico of the Cathedral, now no longer existing. 
Other much-injured frescoes still remaining in the Cathe- 
dral, and in a hall, and in two chapels of the palace long 
ascribed to Giotto are now pronounced to bear the manner of 
mixed mildness, grace, affectation, and careful, flat execution 
with a total lack of perspective which characterizes 
Simone.* 

A small panel picture with name and date, 1342, is in 
the Liverpool Institution. It represents the Virgin and 
Joseph with the youthful Saviour at that moment, " Behold, 
thy. father and I have sought thee sorrowing." The heads 
are of touching expression, and the execution as delicate as 
the period was capable of. The figures are, however, shorter 

* For description of subject see Delia Valle, ' Lettere Senesi.' vol. ii. 
p. 94. 



_^__-_-_:__^ ,.-.;- ,... ; - - , -; .;.- -.(.-. . -J)l ^J.1 - ^_ 




Bahold. thy I-'acher and I bav sought thej sorn v 
FOCTNT) IX THE TEMPLE; a picture by ^imone Martin:, in the 

Royal Institution. Liverpool ' p. 16s 1 . 



Chap. II. EARLY SIENESE MASTERS. 169 

and more overladen than was usual with him.* (See wood- 
cut.) 

In conclusion, if it be true that Simone painted miniatures 
from Petrarch's sonnet, as some infer, his manner is believed 
to be recognised in a MS. Virgil in the Ambrogian Library 
at Milan, f 

Simone died at Avignon in 1344. Two pictures in the Berlin 
Museum ascribed to him are believed to be by Lippo Memmi. 

Lippo Memmi laboured in the same Bottega with his 
brother-in-law, Simone. He also executed works at S. 
Gemignano, the chief of which is a gigantic fresco in the 
Palazzo del Podesta the Virgin and Child enthroned 
under a canopy, with saints on each side, and the kneeling 
figure of the donor, Mino dei Tolomei. It is inscribed with 
his name and the date, 1317. It has the further interest of 
having been restored by Benozzo Gozzoli, who has also, in a 
corner to the right, inscribed his name and the date, 1467. 
This work partakes of the manner of Simone Martini in the 
flatness and absence of relief, and in the patient labour 
bestowed on the dresses. The choral books of the Collegiate 
at S. Gemignano show miniatures which are probably by 
Lippo's hand. He painted also at Orvieto, where a large 
picture of the Madonna and Saints in the chapel of the SS. 
Corporale bears a Latin inscription with his name, to the 
purport that " Lippo, native of the pleasant Siena painted us." 
A small altar-piece of the Virgin and Child once belonging 
to Hofrath Forster, now in the Berlin Museum, is signed. 
According to Vasari, Lippo Memmi died in 1356. 

Barna | was a painter of Sienese extraction and style, by 
whom some greatly damaged frescoes at Arezzo and S. 
Gemignano still survive, the latter representing the life of 
our Lord from the Annunciation. Barna is supposed to have 
been killed by a fall from a scaffold in 1381. The date is, 
however, disputed. Luca di Thome, whose name with the date 

* See Waagen, ' Kunstw. und Kiinstler in England,' vol. ii. p. 390. In 
the Crypt of St. Peter's at Rome (the so-called Grotte Vaticane] is the 
altar-picture of the chapel of S. Maria del Portico (a half-length Madonna) 
also by Simone. 

t Engraved in Rosini, plate 16. 

j Rumohr, Ital. Forsch., vol. ii. p. 109. 



170 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

1366, is inscribed on a Crucifixion in the Academy at Pisa, is 
believed to be a pupil of Barna. 

Other painters of a Sienese character have left works 
equally doubtful and frightful. The reader need not 
be troubled with conjectures regarding their names and 
histories. 

Pietro Lorenzetti, sometimes called Pietro Laurati, some- 
times Laurentii or di Lorenzo, was the eldest brother of the 
Sienese painter, better known than himself, Ambrogio 
Lorenzetti. Neither the date of his birth or death are known. 
He was born towards the close of the thirteenth century 
cotemporarily with Simone Martini for he is recorded to 
have laboured in Siena on a now perished picture called 
" La Tavola dei Nove " as early as 1305. His earliest 
known signed altar-piece is dated 1328. It is a Madonna, 
almost life-size, with four angels, between SS. Anthony and 
Nicholas, in the little church of S. Ansano, outside the 
Pispini Gate of Siena. This picture, with two fragments in 
the Siena Academy, and eight small panels in the Museo 
Cristiano of the Vatican, show a painter of an energy rival- 
ling the Florentine school. A great work executed by 
Pietro in conjunction, according to a recorded signature, with 
his brother Ambrogio, on the Spedale at Siena, representing 
the Marriage of the Virgin, existed up to the year 1720. 
That work was dated 1335. 

A picture inscribed " Petrus Laurentii de Senis," dated 
1340, is in the Uffizi. Another, in better preservation, signed 
but not dated an altar-piece in compartments with pinnacles 
is in the Pieve of Arezzo. This is a fair specimen of his 
feeling for light and shade, and energy of line. 

As respects that originality and power which overleaps 
conventions Pietro Lorenzetti is most characteristically seen 
in a series of frescoes in the north transept of the lower 
church at Assisi, which occupy the side and end walls, and 
the ceiling. These represent the history of our Lord, begin- 
ning with the entry into Jerusalem. The strong individuality 
of these frescoes, the realistic episodes, such as in the Last 
Supper; the vehemence frequently the ugliness of the motives 
though otherwise bearing evidence of a Sienese character 



Chap. II. EARLY S1ENESE MASTERS. 171 

all combine to assign these works to Pietro Lorenzetti, 
which hitherto, on Vasari's authority, have been given to 
Pietro Cavallini. 

The works in the Campo Santo already described (p. 149), 
including that of the Hermits on the south wall, always 
known as his, with more grand efforts of dramatic force, 
ascribed until now to Orcagna, are the crowning evidences of 
Pietro's genius. In the Hermit fresco especially his feel- 
ing for nature in the actions both of men and animals is 
of a high order. He is known to have resided chiefly in 
Siena, and to have been married, and it is surmised that the 
plague of 1318 ended his life as well as that of his brother. 

Of this great painter, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, but little is 
known. Neither the date of his birth or death have been 
ascertained. The first record of his life belongs to the year 
1324. Among his earliest productions were the frescoes re- 
presenting the life of a Saint which covered one side of a 
cloister in S. Francesco at Siena, executed in 1331. The only 
relics of them are two fragments recovered from whitewash, 
and moved from the wall into the second chapel of the same 
church. Little more than the outlines are seen, which give 
no real estimate of the master's powers. Other works of an 
important character, recorded as by his hand, both in Siena 
and Cortona, no longer exist. Two small predella panels in 
the Uffizi are all that remain of an altar-piece representing 
the legend of St. Nicholas, which is known to have borne 
his signature and the date 1332. 

From 1337 to 1339, Ambrogio Lorenzetti was engaged on 
his chief work, which happily still exists. This consists of 
three vast frescoes in the " Sala delle Balestre," in the 
Palazzo Pubblico at Siena, which represent by rather compli- 
cated allegories, assisted by inscriptions, the results of Good 
and Bad Government. The first of the three is mutilated by 
a door which cuts into the right corner. Here, an enthroned 
male figure, holding a sceptre in one hand and a large seal 
in the other, symbolizes the Government of Siena. Peace, 
Fortitude, and Prudence, sit on one side, Magnanimity, 
Temperance, and Justice, on the other. Above, hover Faith, 
Charity, and Hope. A line of figures representing the 



172 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY". Book III. 



twenty-four Counsellors, and evidently of a portrait character, 
are connected by a rope which is held by the enthroned 
personage on the one hand, and by a graceful figure of Con- 
cord on the other, who is again connected by the rope with 
allegorical forms above her (see woodcut). Men on horse- 
back are on each side, and the figure apparently of a donor 
holds a tower. Captives are seen on the right hand. The 
figure of Peace, her foot on a helmet and shield, is full of 
grace; that of Fortitude is also good. On a narrow border 
is the inscription " Ambrosius Laurentii de Senis me pinxit 
utrinque." 

On the second wall, are the results of Good Government, a 
busy scene which shows the arts and trades, the business and 
pleasures of old Siena. It is a glimpse of life in the fourteenth 
century. The tailor is seen in his shop the teacher with 
his class ; graceful figures of dancing girls are in the centre 
of the foreground a lady and gentleman on horseback ; some 
are hawking, others shooting with the cross-bow. All 
declares prosperity and peace, and a graceful genius flying 
by the entrance tower is inscribed " Securitas." 

On the third wall are the signs of Bad Government, with 
Tyranny pre-eminent, treading on Justice, and surrounded by 
all the evil passions which bad governors entail. This is 
assisted by numerous inscriptions, but is too much ruined to 
reward study.* 

These frescoes, viewed as a whole, place the art of 
Ambrogio on a high level for his time. In 1342, he com- 
pleted the picture of the Presentation in the Temple, now in 
the Accademia at Florence, but so much injured and restored 
that the signature and. date have become the most interesting 
part. 

Bartolo di Maestro Fredi is the name of a Sienese painter 
who executed works in S. Agostino at S. Gemignano, 
the remains of which have lately emerged from whitewash. 
A Descent from the Cross at Montalcino also exists in the 
sacristy of S. Francesco. This bears the remains of an in- 
scription giving his name and the date, 1382. 

* A drawing of these frescoes when in a better state is in the possession 
of Count Fieri at Siena. 



Chap. II. EARLY SIENESE MASTERS. 173 

Andrea Vanni is another Sienese born 1332 who worked 
with the last named, and stands much upon a par with him 
in the rude and tasteless imitation of the comparatively 
great masters who preceded them. A remnant of a fresco 
by him is in the chapel of St. Catherine in S. Domenico at 
Siena. Vanni is known as the correspondent and adorer of 
St. Catherine of Siena, the Dominican Nun. Recent researches 
have elicited more records of his life than of his art ; the 
man being, as it appears, equally uninteresting in each. 

Taddeo di Bartolo was a painter who supported the 
Sienese school by his energy and ability, though he did not 
raise it above the standard of the Lorenzetti. He was born 
about 1362. The earliest example of his art is an altar-piece 
the Virgin and Child enthroned, with a glory of seraphim 
painted for S. Paolo of Pisa, signed and dated 1390. This 
is in the Louvre. In 1395 he completed an altar-piece of the 
Virgin and Child and saints for the Sardi and Campigli 
Chapel in S. Francesco at Pisa. He followed up this work 
in 1397 by painting the walls of the same chapel for one 
Donna Datuccia, the representative of the Sardi family. 
These have been lately relieved of their whitewash, revealing 
inscriptions which give the above facts. These frescoes are 
chiefly dedicated to the life of the Madonna, and though 
much injured and colourless, show spirit and originality. 
In the Visit of the Apostles to the Virgin a legendary event 
recorded to have happened at her death the figures around 
her, and those who are descending miraculously through the 
air, are full of animation and fine action. 

After these works at Pisa, Taddeo is found at Siena, where 
from 1400 to 1401 he undertook considerable works in the 
Palazzo Pubblico. These have perished. Nine, however, 
out of twelve small panels, illustrating the sentences of the 
Creed, still exist in the 'Opera' of the Duomo. They are 
interesting for their animation and fine drapery. Like most 
painters of all times, he filled a small space with better 
success than a large one. 

A colossal Crucifixion now in the female ward of the Spedale 
of Siena corroborates the last remark, 

Taddeo laboured also about tin's time at Montalcino and at 



t 
174 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

S Gemignano. In the Palazzo Commune of the last place 
are two altar-pieces by him, originally executed for the 
Cathedral. In 1403 he was painting at Perugia, where he 
executed a Virgin and Child with two angels and St. Bernard 
signed and dated now in the Accademia of that city. A 
Descent of the Holy Ghost, also signed, and dated 1403, is 
still in the church of S. Agostino, for which it was painted. 
These works belong to Taddeo's prime. The heads in the 
first mentioned have great depth of expression and the drape- 
ries are in good style. In the Descent of the Holy Ghost, 
figures under life-size, " an oppressed sensation is well 
imagined." * 

In 1406 he was engaged by his fellow townspeople in 
Siena to repaint the chapel of the Palazzo Pubblico, and 
authorized to destroy all paintings previously existing 
there. It is known that he was bound to execute the com- 
mission within . a few weeks. The works are, nevertheless, 
imposing in character, though much injured and restored. 
They represent, as at Pisa, the Life of the Madonna. A deep 
sincerity of feeling pervades this series, especially that of the 
Death of the Madonna, where Christ, attended by Seraphs, 
descends and takes her by the hand, while he receives her soul 
in the form of an infant. The chapel is unfortunately very 
dark, so that a favourable day is necessary to do any justice 
to these works. Seven years later Taddeo painted a hall 
annexed to the chapel with the heroes, statesmen, and writers 
of antiquity, standing in niches, in illustration of the qualities 
supposed to preside over the administration of Justice in the 
Sala del Consiglio, to which this hall led. On the capital of 
one of the arches inside the chapel is an inscription with the 
name of Bartolo and the respective dates 1407 and 1414 
of each portion of the work. 

Meanwhile he had laboured at Volterra, where a large 
altar-piece in a Gothic frame, consisting of numerous pieces 
all on a gilt ground, still exists in the Duomo. It bears the 
following inscription : " Taddeus Bartolus de Senis, pinxit 
hoc. 1411." " The expressions of the Madonna and Child 
and of all the Saints, are very fine and solemn, and quite come 
* Memorandum bv Sir C. L. Eastlake, Perugia, 1856. 



Chap. II. EARLY SIENESE MASTERS. 175 

up to Kumohr's description, not of this picture, but of other 
early works remarkable for depth of feeling. More than 
fifty years later pictures were produced in Florence, Venice, 
and elsewhere, which are far inferior to this in truth of ex- 
pression and action." * 

There is little in public galleries that can be with cer- 
tainty ascribed to Taddeo, and although he is reported to 
have painted at Arezzo and at Padua, nothing existing 'in 
either place can be identified as his. He died in 1422. 

The mode of conception proper to the Sienese school as 
seen in the chief painters described may be characterized 
as remarkable for depth of feeling rather than for originality 
of composition. The expression of grace and tenderness was 
even exaggerated to affectation, while in the overladen orna- 
ment and antiquated motives the school adhered to traditions 
of Byzantine art. 

With Taddeo di Bartolo the fourteenth century may be said 
to close. The influence of Siena is strongly seen in Pisa, 
though the painters produced there were of very secondary 
rank. Martino di Bartolommeo, a Sienese ; Gregorio Cecehi, of 
Lucca, adopted son of Taddeo di Bartolo ; Turini Vanni, by 
whom an inscribed picture exists in the Louvre ; Jacopo di 
Michele, known by the name of Gera, and others of still less 
note, appear in the Academies of Pisa and Siena as feeble 
imitators of Taddeo di Bartolo. Upon the whole, Pisa claims 
no native painters of any power ; her sole title to a place in 
the chronology of art being derived from her early sculptors. 

Domenico di \Bartolo, erroneously called the nephew of 
Taddeo di Bartolo, but who appears to have been unrelated 
to him his real name being Domenico Bartolo Gliezzo da 
Asciano belongs to the Sienese school of the fifteenth century. 
In a few inscribed and dated panels one of 1433, in the 
Academy of Siena, another of 1438, in a convent at Perugia 
he appears as a weak and unattractive painter, deficient in 
colour, balance and perspective ; whose name is given to 
a number of works of the same tasteless type found in 
public and private collections. He is known to have covered 
the Sacristy of the Duomo at Siena with frescoes, now perished, 
* Memorandum by Sir C. L. Eastlake, Volterra, 1857. 



176 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURA. Book III. 

and he is still seen in the much-injured Works of Mercy in 
the Hospital " di S. Maria della Scala " at Siena, most of 
which were completed in 1444. These are heavy and tasteless 
productions, chiefly illustrating the total decline of all 
excellence. 

The history of the republic of Siena in the fifteenth century 
was not favourable to the development of art, and while the 
painters were as numerous as they were mechanical, no great 
man arose to shake oflf the trammels of traditional errors. 
Lorenzo di Pietro was a cotemporary of Domenico di 
Bartolo. He practised almost all branches of the arts, 
and exhibits a type of decrepitude in his figures and faces 
which may account for the name of Vecchietta given him by 
his cotemporaries. Remains of frescoes by him, recently 
released from whitewash, in the Palazzo Pubblico and in the 
Sacristy of the Hospital, are seen at Siena. Two statues by 
him, one in the Loggia della Mercanzia, and a bronze Christ 
by his hand, dated 1479, adorn the high altar of the Spedale. 
These, his last works, sufficiently show the low place he 
occupies. Vecchietta was also an architect and an engineer, 
known for his designs and models of fortresses, a fact hardly 
compatible with any but the most mechanical habits of art. 
This versatility of power, or, more truly, variety of handicraft, 
belonged to those periods when art, however grandly repre- 
sented by a few gifted men, was scarcely more than a trade 
with various branches, in all of which the apprentice was 
expected to be equally well versed. There can be no doubt 
that this much overpraised readiness to undertake any work 
that came within the range of the bottega, or workshop, con- 
tributed, in inferior hands, to keep art at a low level, and even 
in the persons of the most gifted, interfered with their pro- 
ductiveness. 

Stefano di Giovanni, more known as Sassetta, takes us 
back to an earlier time in Sienese art. He belongs to the 
fourteenth century, and his art would be hardly worthy 
of record, for he was little better than a tame repeater of 
worn-out types, did he not lead to men of more note. 
His principal scholar was Ansano di Pietro Mencio born 
1406, died 1481 who, had he not been so overpoweringly 



Chap. II. EARLy SIENESE MASTERS. 177 

prolific, might have taken a higher place, for while his 
frescoes are as flat and tapestry-like as those of Simone 
and Lippo Memmi, he improved on the types of his pre- 
decessors in the softness of his expressions, and is unrivalled 
in the delicacy of his patterns and glories. Nevertheless, 
the name of the ' Angelico da Siena ' usually given him is only 
relatively true in his position as compared with the works 
of some of his cotemporaries. A Virgin and Saints now in 
the Siena Academy, inscribed " Opus Sani Pietri de Senis 
1443," is by his hand. A fresco of the Coronation of the Virgin, 
in a room on the ground floor of the Palazzo Pubblico at 
Siena, is the most important of his works. A long inscrip- 
tion, at the base, ends with his name and the date 1445. 
There are no less than forty-seven pictures by Sano di Pietro 
in the Sienese Academy, the most successful of which is an 
Assumption of the Virgin, dated 1479. His works are scattered 
over the Sienese territory and are to be found in most public 
and private collections in England and on the continent. 

Matteo di Giovanni di Bartolo, called Matteo da Siena 
born about 1435, died 1495 was considered the best Sienese 
painter of his time. In the absence, however, of the higher 
science of art, for which the religious sentiment pervading the 
Sienese school supplied, as time progressed, an increasingly in- 
adequate substitute, he falls immeasurably short of his Floren- 
tine cotemporaries. His expressions are solemn and sweet, 
with pale and delicate colour ; his female saints are pleasing, 
and his delineation of the Infant Saviour may be called beau- 
tiful. The altar-piece at Siena, called the ' Madonna della 
Neve,' a legendary subject, executed for the brotherhood of 
that name, is an interesting example of his art. ' The Madonna^ 
and Child,' both fine in character, are surrounded with angels 
bearing vases filled with snow, while others higher up are 
making snowballs. St. Peter and St. John Evangelist are below, 
standing ; S. Lorenzo (of fine character) and St. Catherine of 
Siena, kneeling. The pavement is in good perspective ; the 
action of the Madonna and of some of the angels is very agree- 
able. In the predella,the subject of the snow falling (in August) 
is very pleasing. Inscribed " Opus Matei di Senis. 1477."* 

* Memorandum by Sir C. L. Eastlake, Siena, 1856. 

N 



178 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 



A later picture, of the same year (see woodcut), of St. 
Barbara enthroned, with her tower, with attendant angels, 
and SS. Catherine and Magdalen standing, is in S. Domenico, 
Siena. 

This painter is, however, most known, though not most 
favourably, by his pictures of the Murder of the Innocents 
a subject which he repeated several times. One is on the 
altar of a chapel in S. Agostino, Siena ; a second in the 
Concezione, Siena ; a third in the Naples Museum. The two' 
first mentioned are different compositions. This class of 
subject lay entirely beyond his powers : the actions are 
violent and ill-understood, and the expressions grimacing, 
though that of Herod is successfully cruel. The large size 
of Herod's figure was a traditionary practice. The lunette 
in the Concezione picture is one of those quiet compositions 
which do justice to his merits. A Madonna subject in the 
Sienese Academy,* No. 175, is also a favourable specimen. 
The works of Matteo are numerous. 

At the close of this group we introduce two masters, both 
monks, who, it is true, belonged almost exclusively to 
Florence, but who so combined the intensity of expression and 
the idealizing aim of the Sienese school with the conception 
of form belonging to the Florentine, that the first may be 
almost said to be predominant in their works. Both, although 
cotemporary with the great innovations of Masaccio, adhered 
in essential points to the types of the fourteenth century. 

The one is the Camaldolese monk, Don Lorenzo, called 
H Monaco, who resided in the monastery ' degli Angeli ' at 
Florence. The date of his birth is unknown. A picture at 
'Empoli, assigned to Gentile da Fabriano, bearing date 1404, 
has now been pronounced the work of Lorenzo. His chief 
work, of the year 1414, is an altar-piece in the abbey of 
Cerreto, not far from Certaldo.f The subject is a Coronation 
of the Virgin, surrounded with angels, and with several rows 
of kneeling saints upon a gold ground. The predella pictures 
contain an Adoration, and on each side the acts of St. Benedict. 
The execution is very careful, the colouring clear and har- 

* Engraved in Rosini, pi. 58. 
t See ' Kunstblatt,' 1840, No. 2 : Notice of Lorenzo, oy Gaye. 



Chap. II. FRA ANGELICO. 179 



monious. but the nude very defective, and the drapery slight 
and conventional. In the predella pictures there is much to 
remind us of Taddeo Gaddi and Spinello. In the landscape 
background, also, and in the more real and natural conception 
of the subjects, we see a compliance with the style of the 
fifteenth century, though the principal picture still retains 
the old and solemn arrangement of a more ideal school. An 
Annunciation in S. Trinita at Florence exhibits, it is true, 
that widely adopted form of composition which had almost 
become a type of the subject, but departs from it in the soft 
mode of execution, and in the tender and mild expression of 
the heads. The pictures of the predella are similar in con- 
ception and subject. A Descent from the Cross in the Flor- 
entine Academy, and other pictures, are of less importance. 

The other painter and monk to whom we have referred is 
one whose name is suggestive of the holiest ideas and gentlest 
forms that religious art has bequeathed. Fra Giovanni da 
Fiesole, surnamed the Angelica, and designated by Lanzi as 
" un Beato dell' ordine Domenicano," was born at Vicchio, a 
village in the territory of Mugello, not far from Vespignano, 
the birth-place of Giotto, in 1387. His baptismal name was 
Guido, which he changed for Giovanni on entering the Order 
of the Dominicans in 1407 at Fiesole. The convent was 
only founded in 1406, and was soon involved in religious 
disputes which drove the monks and novices first to Fuligno, 
and thence to Cortona, whence they returned to Fiesole in 
1418. No record remains of Fra Angelica's instructor, and 
it may be assumed that he had passed his apprenticeship in 
art before joining the Order. 

In considering the art of this great master it is apparent 
that an unvarying principle guided his career from first to 
last. An intensity of religious feeling, unprecedented in 
this form of expression before or since, inspired his pencil. 
Lessons in faith, and examples in holiness were always his 
aim, and he sought to invest the forms in which these were 
given with the utmost beauty and purity. The most delicate 
and cheerful colours, like spring flowers, are selected for the 
draperies, and a profusion of golden ornaments lavished over 
the work every auxiliary within the range of his art being 

2 



180 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

employed to give fresh charms to these sacred subjects. 
With a deep respect for prescriptive authority, he adheres 
scrupulously to traditional types, and ventures on none of 
the innovations already becoming familiar in Florentine 
art. His personal sanctity is recorded to have been entirely 
consistent with the tenor of his art, and the odour of it must 
have lingered tenaciously in Florence when Vasari, more 
than a hundred years later, drew his picture in words rarely 
bestowed on man : " The life of this really angelic father 
was devoted to the service of God, the benefit of the world, 
and duty towards his neighbour. . . He shunned the worldly 
in all things, and during his pure and simple life was such a 
friend to the poor that I think his soul must be now in 
heaven. He painted incessantly, but would never lay his 
hand to any but a sacred subject ; he might have had wealth 
but he scorned it, saying that true riches were to be found in 
content. He might have ruled over many, but would not, 
saying that obedience was easier, and less liable to error. He 
might have enjoyed dignities, but disdained them, afBrming 
that the only dignity he sought was to avoid hell and gain 
heaven. He was wont to say that the practice of art re- 
quired repose and holy thoughts, and that he who would depict 
the acts of Christ, must learn to live with Christ." 

He is said never to have commenced his work without 
prayer, and to have been frequently interrupted by tears 
while representing the sufferings of the Redeemer. 

Fra Angelica's first efforts are believed to have been in the 
illumination of religious books, and the exquisite finish, clear, 
sweet colour, and also the flatness of his style, point to this 
early practice. But in truth the language of his art was 
suited to his aim, and though he had faults, too easily seen and 
criticized, yet the style of the Frate is entitled to that 
definition which characterizes excellences in whatever stage 
or form of art, viz., that it suggests no want. Fewer defects 
would have derogated from his special beauties. In his own 
path he was as extraordinary a painter as ever lived. Such 
scientific qualities as breadth of light and shade, rapidity of 
movement, and accuracy of anatomy were not given to or 
sought by him; he is therefore timid and weak in all de- 



Chap. l II. FRA ANGELICO. 181 

termined action, and defective in knowledge of the human 
structure, but that finer science, most calculated to assist his 
spiritual aim the science of the varieties of human expres- 
sion he may be said to have been the first to feel and to 
develop. Nor does he essentially fail in any of the great 
principles of art, for while pre-eminently the father of expres- 
sion he also excels equally in harmony of lines in composition, 
and of colour, and in beauty of drapery. 

There is a certain affinity between his works and those of 
Lorenzo Monaco, who has been conjectured to have con- 
tributed to the Frate's education. But a greater identity of 
form and technical process is observable between Fra 
Angelica and Masolino da Panicale, who were nearly cotem- 
poraries, and both issuing from the school which arose under 
Antonio Veneziano. The intensely subjective character of 
Fra Angelica's art points, however, to no exclusive master or 
school, though showing characteristics which bear witness to 
his local propinquity to the works of Orcagna. All the 
sweetness of that early Florentine, who, as we have said, 
combined the Giottesque and Sienese feeling, was carried to 
its extremest purity by the Dominican monk. The slender 
and graceful proportions of the figures in the Strozzi chapel 
find their counterpart in those<f Fra Angelica, who endowed 
them with his exquisite refinement, while he robbed them of 
their grandeur and severity. As far therefore as internal 
evidence may be accepted, the Frate's education may be said 
to have been derived from Masolino on the one hand, and 
from Orcagna on the other, while his own mind furnished that 
which is independent of influence. 

The earliest works of the master were executed in Cortona, 
and such as were in the form of frescoes perished by the hands 
of the French with the convent walls they adorned. Movable 
altar-pictures still remain in S. Domenico, and in the church 
of the Gesu (at Cortona). The Virgin and Child enthroned, 
with four saints and two angels on each side, and numerous 
medallion subjects in the architectural frame, is in S. 
Domenico. A large picture of the Annunciation, a subject 
peculiarly congenial to his feeling, and often repeated by him, 
is in the Gesu. Here the landscape with the expulsion of 



182 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 



Adam and Eve in the upper left corner is, according to Sir 
C. L. Eastlake, " perhaps the best existing by the painter." 
A long predella in seven compartments, also in the Gesu the 
Life of the Madonna is full of his most refined characteristics. 
These and another predella series of the Life of St. 
Domenick, also in the Gesu, were doubtless executed in 
Cortona before 1418. To the same period belongs the 
picture of the Madonna and Saints in S. Domenico in Perugia; 
the figure of St. Domenick is here especially'fine. The names 
of the saints are here inscribed in their glories, a retention of 
an earlier practice. Several smaller works, formerly inserted 
in the frame of this picture, are in the sacristy of the same 
church. Two circular medallions of the Annunciation are 
especially attractive. 

No chronology of the Frate's works after his return to 
Fiesole has yet been ascertained. The date, however, of one 
of his best known pieces, the Virgin and Child surrounded 
with an arch of twelve angels two of them in attitudes of 
praise, the others playing on musical instruments now in 
the Corridor of the Uffizi, has been discovered. This was 
executed for the company of the " Linaiuoli " in 1433, and 
with its predella and wing pictures forms perhaps the most 
exquisite work by his hand. 

It is supposed that the eight panel pictures containing 
thirty-five subjects which ornamented the presses of the 
Annunziata, now in the Accademia at Florence, were executed 
at Fiesole. They represent the life of Christ. The accom- 
panying woodcuts give a fair idea of four of the subjects. In 
the Judas receiving the Money the master's power over 
expression, even of an evil kind, is too delicate to bear 
translation. But this series has been atrociously injured, 
and several of them are evidently not by his hand.* 

The Accademia also contains the Descent from the Cross, 
one of those pictures of which a writer, t speaking of Fra 
Angelica, says " They make us forget that they are art." The 
expressions and actions of the numerous figures are the most 

* Ses Noechi's Outlines, traced from the originals, 
t 'Leben und Werke des Fra Giovanni Angelico da Fiesole. Mit 22 
Abbilduiigen.'- Von Dr. Ernst Forster. Regensburg, 1859. 



CCCEV1RCO CONCrPICl tPARIL.7 nuVMIVOCABF NOMIN tlVSCMANVL. VSA^Vi.G 






TROtR)\RIESFIUVMtVOCABI5NOMENE.PIHESVMLVCE.I.C 




JIATION : by Angelico da Fiesole. One cf the panel compartments from the 
presses formerly in SS. Annunziata. 

p. 182. No. 1. 




THE FLIGHT INTO EG'SPT, by Angelico da Fiesole . one of tie panel compartments 
from tbe presses formerly in tbe SS Annunziata. 

p. :R2. No. 2. 




JODAS RECEIVING THE MONET. 







CHRIST'S ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM ; by Angelico da Fiesole. Panel compartments 
firom the presses formerly in tha S3. Annucziata 

p. 182. No. 3. 



Chap. II. FRA AXGELICO. 183 

appropriate and therefore touching with which painting has 
invested this subject. A Gothic Italian frame is richly studded 
with smaller pictures bust and full-length figures of saints, 
among which SS. Peter and Paul may be instanced. 

The Last Judgment was a subject to which the master 
especially devoted himself. There are several examples of it. 
Two are in the Accademia, Florence ; one in the Corsini 
Palace, Kome ; one, only partly by his hand, in the Berlin 
Museum ; and one, which is considered the finest, formerly in 
the Fesch Gallery, is now in the possession of Lord Dudley.* 
No painter has been so fitted to cope with this great theme ; 
whether we consider the dignity of the Judge and of the 
Celestial hierarchy with which tradition has invested the scene, 
or the conception of that ineffable bliss, which is foreshadowed 
as much as told in the countenances and actions of the Blessed. 
Genuine " airs from Heaven" pervade that happy side where 
angels lead the long-tried denizens of earth chiefly poor 
friars in harmonious measures; one angel even gracefully 
jocund, as it heads the dance with arm gently a-kimbo. Nor 
are the still human conditions of the Redeemed omitted. 
Nowhere has a painter so touchingly illustrated the 
mourner's watchword " meet again." The first glance of the 
rising Dead falls on those near and dear who have gone 
before, and greeting looks and gentle caresses do all that 
pious art may do to reconcile the apparent mystery of ardent 
human hearts and spiritual conditions. As for the horrors of 
the other side, more repugnant of necessity to the true painter 
than even to the spectator, Fra Angelica only obeyed the 
prescriptive ideas of the Roman Church. It is questionable, 
however, whether he profaned his hand by taking any part in 
their execution ; they were probably, as with Orcagna and 
others, the work of a subordinate. 

We must say a few more words upon the subject of 
Fra Angelicas angels, which are the purest type to which 
imagination has consented. By no other hand are these 

* On the previous vicissitudes and acknowledged merits of this picture, 
see Spc'th, 'Die Kunst in Italien,' 1819, vol. i. p. 214, note; and vol. iii. 
p. 133. A sixth Last Judgment, of small dimensions, discovered by Sir 
C. L. Eastlake at Ravenna, was lost at sea in 1860. 



184 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

beings of another sphere depicted so genuinely as the gentle 
guardians of man. Whether seen, as described, in the 
Last Judgment, or surrounding the Lord in glory, as in 
the predella in the National Gallery, or singly, as in the 
Uffizi picture before mentioned, or isolated, as in two exquisite 
little panels in the Turin Gallery, they have invariably what 
may be called an angelic propriety and individuality which 
take the feelings captive. 

The works which decorated S. Domenico at Fiesole may 
be supposed to have been executed while the Order remained 
there, viz. between 1418 and 1436. An altar-piece of 
Virgin and Child, with four male saints, is still in that 
church. It has been cruelly damaged and repaired : its 
chief distinction consists in the predella formerly attached 
to it our Lord in Glory, surrounded with angels, prophets, 
saints and martyrs now one of the chief ornaments of the 
National Gallery. The figure of our Lord here is a specimen 
of the paralysis which befel the pious master's hand when 
dealing with a subject beyond all human conception. It is 
like a vacuum in the picture, offering nothing for the 
imagination to fasten on. 

The Coronation of the Virgin (see woodcut) now in the 
Louvre* w. s also painted for S. Domenico at Fiesole. This 
was among the pictures abstracted by the French. It was 
so little valued equally by plunderers and plundered that the 
Tuscan Government grudged the expense of its restoration to 
Florence, and the French Government banished it to the 
Garde Kobe, where it was ticketed as a " coloured drawing." 
It is now acknowledged to be one of the prizes of the Louvre 
collection. 

But we must follow the master to his convent of S. Marco 
in Florence, where the Order were finally installed in 1436, 
and where the mind of the artist is best understood in works 
in fresco which remain in the positions for which they were 
designed, and still serve their original purpose there. The 
walls of S. Marco are a very museum of Fra Angelica 
cloisters, refectory, chapter-house, guest-room, corridors, 

* ' Maria Krbnung und die Wunder des heiligen Domenicus nach Johann 
voii Fiesole ; gez. von W. Ternite, mit Text von A. W. von Schlegel.' 




CORONATION OF THE VIRGIN AND MIRACLES OF ST. DOMINIC. 

A picture by Angelico da Fiesole, now in the Louvre. p. 134. 



Chap. II. FRA ANGELICO. 185 



stairs, and not less than nineteen or twenty cells, bear witness 
to a skill and leisure alike obsolete. Only the most remark- 
able can be mentioned. The Annunciation, a scene divided 
into two by a centre column, with an arched arcade and garden, 
in an upper corridor. The Crucifixion, with St. Domenick em- 
bracing the cross on the wall opposite the entrance to the 
church. St. Peter Martyr, in a lunette over the door leading to 
the sacristy, with finger on lips expressing the obligation of 
silence. The Pilgrims at Emaus,two Dominicans detaining the 
Saviour under garb of a pilgrim, over a door where pilgrims 
of old were welcomed. The large Crucifixion, with the three 
Crosses, and twenty-five figures of saints and prophets, life-size, 
below, representing the Adoration of the Cross, surrounded 
with an arched framework with medallions containing heads of 
the chief members of the Order, in the Chapter-house. In addi- 
tion to these and many more, are the touching and edifying 
compositions with which a long succession of lonely monks 
have consorted, one in each humble cell ; prominent among 
which are the Transfiguration, with our Lord's arms extended 
horizontally ; the Agony in the Garden, with the Disciples 
sleeping, but with the Maries (with a feeling no other 
painter has had for them) seen within a room, praying. The 
Bearing of the Cross, with St. Domenick and the Virgin 
attending. Christ being nailed to the cross, a reminiscence 
of an earlier age, and never so ideally given ; and finally, two 
magnificent scenes, the Coronation of the Virgin and the 
Adoration of the Kings ; the last, in one of the cells supposed 
to have been built for the use of Cosmo de' Medici, who 
contributed munificently to the erection of the convent. All 
these works have been, till a comparatively recent time, 
subjected to the utmost neglect and injury, and several now 
serve little more than to illustrate the fact that the feeling 
which flowed from the mind of the saintly monk clings 
indelibly even to the faintest shadow of his original work. 
Some fine frescoes by him have even been destroyed to make 
room for later painters of legendary subjects. 

A similar fate befel the frescoes executed by the master in 
the transept of the church of S. Maria Novella, which 
were seen and described by Vasari, and destroyed since. 



186 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 



This church, however, retains .three reliquaries which re- 
present on a small scale the very quintessence of Fro, 
Angelica's powers of expression and colour. 

In 1445 our artist undertook a journey to Eome by invita- 
tion of Eugenius IV., where he painted the chapel of the 
Sacrament in the Vatican, afterwards demolished by Pope 
Paul III. The death of Eugenius seems to have set the 
painter free to repair to Orvieto, where he executed in the 
chapel of the Madonna di S. Brizio in the cathedral three 
triangular compartments containing the Saviour with angels, 
saints and prophets, intended for the upper part of a Last 
Judgment. Benozzo Gozzoli, of whom we shall speak further, 
was Lis pupil here, and the work was completed by Luca 
Signorelli. In 1447, the master was recalled to Eome, 
where, Pope Eugenius having meanwhile died, Nicholas V. 
employed him to decorate the chapel in the Vatican that 
bears his name, with the lives of SS. Stephen and Lawrence.* 
This chapel was for centuries consigned to oblivion, so 
that Bottari, in the last century, the door not being dis- 
coverable, made his entrance by a window. Here the 
story of the two Saints are seen in a series on three of 
the walls, that of St. Stephen occupying the upper course. 
Our woodcut gives an example of two of the subjects. 
Scenes from each life have also been engraved by the 
Arundel Society. A Descent from the Cross by the master, 
above the altar, is still covered with whitewash. These 
frescoes evince a dramatic power hardly exercised by the 
master before, and show that in his 61st year he was in the 
vigour of his art. 

Fra Angelica died at Eome in 1455, and was buried in the 
church of the Minerva, where his recumbent effigy, with 
epitaph, may still be seen.| 

The brother of Fra Angelica, Fra Benedetto, also of the 

' * ' Le Pitture della Cappella di Nicolo V., opere del Beato Gio. Ang. 
da Fiesole, dis. ed inc. da Fr. Giangiacomo. Roma, 1810.' See D'Agm. 
court, plate 145. 
f His epitaph, which is in Latin, may be thus rendered : 

" Let me not be praised that 1 was another Apelles, 
But that I gave all gains to the children of Christ. 
Some works are for Earth, others for Heaven : 
The flower of Etruria's cities bore me, Giovanni." 








STEPHEN PREACHING ; a fresco by Angelico da Fieuole, in the 
Vatican Chapel of Nicolas V. 



p. 186 No 




.VHEKCE ; a frfsco by AugeHco da Fiesol--, in the Vatican cEapel of Kicolas V. 

p. 186. No. S. 



Chap. III. EARLY BOLOGNESE SCHOOL. 187 

same Order, was an industrious .miniaturist. The choral 
books in St. Marco, and also in the cathedral at Florence, 
are by his hand, which bears a certain similarity to that of 
his brother. It has been surmised that he assisted Fra 
Angelica in the frescoes at S. Marco. Such portions there- 
fore as are inferior may have been the work of Fra Benedetto, 
who died in 1448. He had been for three years superior 
of the Domenicans at Fiesole. 



SCHOOLS OF UPPER ITALY. 

IN Upper Italy, as in Tuscany, a new tendency in art com- 
menced with the fourteenth centiiry. Coeval with the forms 
of the Gothic style we now observe the expression of the 
feelings, a more or less animation of the figures, and a 
totally new and dramatic mode of treatment. The first 
appearances of these novelties in art may be considered as 
local and independent developments. Soon, however, the 
influence of Giotto began to act upon them, impelling the 
schools of Upper Italy to efforts on which the impress of his 
mind is clearly exhibited. 

An originally independent school presents itself in Bologna, 
where a transition from Byzantine restraint to a certain 
feeling for nature is seen in the first half of the fourteenth 
century. It has been usual to attribute the origin of this 
movement to one Franco Bolognese, mentioned in Dante's 
' Purgatorio ' (xi. 83), and now, on the authority of Vellutello, 
a Lucchese commentator on Dante of the sixteenth century, 
believed to have been a pupil of Oderisio of Gubbio, whom 

Dante denominates 

" 1'onor di quell' arte, 
Ch' alluminare & chiamata in Parisi." (' Purgatorio,' xi.) 

The reputation of Franco Bolognese has rested hitherto on 
a dated and signed picture in the Ercolani gallery at 
Bologna. This inscription is now pronounced to be false. 
" The style of the picture, where not restored, belongs to 



188 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

about the year 1400."* Franco Bolognese must therefore 
henceforth, unless a genuine specimen be discovered, be 
left out of account. 

More is known of the works of the Bolognese Vitale, who, 
from his frequent pictures of the Virgin, obtained the name 
of " dalle Madonne." Two works by him, signed and dated, 
the one 1320, and the other 1345, have come to light, the 
first, now in the Bolognese Gallery ; the second, engraved by 
D' Agincourt (plate 127). Another signed " Vitalis de Bononis, 
f." is in the Museo Cristiano of the Vatican. He is a painter 
of soft and tender aim, in the manner of the early Umbrian 
school, but of second-rate power. 

A follower of Vitale's manner, is one Andrea of Bologna. 
In a picture of rude execution of the Virgin and Child in the 
church del Sacramento at Pausola, near Macerata, believed 
to be by him, he signs himself, " de Bononia natus Andreas 
fatus, A.D. 1372." But no work by him appears in Bologna. 

Another follower of Vitale more worthy of record, was 
the Bolognese, Lippo di Dalmasio, who obtained the same 
surname of " dalle Madonne." A specimen with a genuine 
inscription, " Lippus Dalmasius, pinxit," but undated, long 
existed in the Ercolani Gallery, Bologna, and is now in the 
National Gallery. It represents the Madonna and Child in a 
circle, and is distinguished by great tenderness of action ; 
" the brown half-lights and whitish lights in parts are 
like Signorelli" f This painter was born about 1376, and 
his will is dated 1410. One of his best works is a fresco 
noticed by Vasari on the arch above the portal of S. Procolo 
at Bologna the Virgin and Child between SS. Sixtus and 
Benedict. Another fresco, visible until 1859, in S. Petronio, 
Bologna, with the inscription "Lippus Dalmasius, pinxit 
1407," has been lately whitewashed. The gold embroideries 
and profusion of ornaments in all these painters shows the 
influence of the Sienese and Umbrian schools. A missal of the 
year 1374, in the Munich Library, is adorned with miniatures 
by a certain Niccolb da Bologna. 

The Ursuline nun, Beata Caterina Vigri, is by some num- 
bered among the scholars of Lippo .Dalmasio, though her 

* Memorandum by Sir C. L. E., Bologna, 1861. f Ibid- 



Chap. III. EARLY BOLOGNESE SCHOOL. 189 

works belong to the middle of the fifteenth century. The 
galleries of Bologna and Venice each contain specimens of 
her art, representing St. Ursula, and inscribed with name 
and date. They are pleasing but weak performances of a 
Sienese character. 

The influence of the second-rate followers of Giotto is 
seen in the productions of Simone da Bologna, called " dei 
Crocifissi" Instead of the somewhat affected delicacy of the 
artist jitst named, his figures are masculine, coarse, and heavy. 
Two of his crucifixes remain ; one inscribed with name, and 
dated 1370, is in the chapel 'della Croce' in S. Giacomo 
Maggiore in Bologna ; the other, also signed, is kept under 
glass in the fourth church of S. Stefano, Bologna. 

Cristoforo da Bologna, so called, was cotemporary with 
Simone. A panel with Crucifixion and Entombment, signed 
" Xpoforus fecit," is in the Costabile Gallery at Ferrara. 
Other works of the same character, also in that collection, 
and a Crucifixion in the public gallery at Ferrara, make it 
probable that he belonged to that city. 

Jacobo degli Avanzi is known by a Crucifixion in the 
Colonna Gallery, Eome, signed "Jacobus de Avacius de Bono- 
mia, f." This shows a painter of great exaggeration and 
feebleness. He is recognised also in the Bologna Academy. 

Most of the artists just mentioned, Vitale, Simone, Cris- 
toforo, and Jacobo degli Avanzi are recorded to have decorated 
a church at Mezzarata, originally called ' Casa di Mezzo,' 
with Biblical frescoes according to Vasari, completed 
1404 of which fragments only exist, and those not of a 
character to repay much interest.* They may be generally 
said to bear the impress of Bolognese art at the close of the 
fourteenth century. 

Another Jacobo must be mentioned, if only to distinguish 
him from the Jacobo degli Avanzi just recorded. This is a 
third-rate artist, who signs himself " Jacobus Paulus, f." on 
the upper course of a large altar-piece in the S. Croce Chapel 
of S. Giacomo, Bologna, which, in other respects, is Venetian 
in character, and far superior. 

The name of Petrus Joannis is attached to a fresco of 
* See engraving of altar-piece by Cristoforo, D'Agincourt, pi. 160. 



190 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 



some attraction in the court of the convent of S. Domenico, 
Bologna. No other work is known by his hand.* 

This list may be closed by the name of Micliele di 
Matteo, or Micliele Lambertini, a later Bolognese, by whom 
inscribed pictures of little interest exist ; one is in the 
Bologna Academy, dated 1422, or 7. 

Tommaso da Mutina (Modena) is, by the fact of his sig- 
nature, pronounced to be a Modenese, belonging to the four- 
teenth century. He is the first painter of any note who arose 
there ; at the same time his art may be called a mixture of 
the Bolognese and Gubbian School. He is a second-rate 
painter, with all the defects of his time. A picture in six 
parts in the gallery of Modena is so damaged and overpainted, 
that little opinion can be formed of it. In 1457, Tommaso 
went to Prague, where he was employed by the Emperor 
Charles IV. to decorate the castle of Carlstein. Two 
pictures on panel, still in the chapel of the castle one a 
much-injured Ecce Homo with a number of small figures 
in the frame, are by his hand. A Virgin and Child between 
SS. Wenceslaus and Palmasius, with a curious inscription 
including his name, is now in the Belvedere Gallery, 
Vienna ; half length figures.! To this same Tommaso da 
Mutina may be ascribed with much probability a picture in 
the altar-recess of the St. Catherine's Chapel at Carlstein 
the Madonna between an Emperor and Empress a picture of 
great sweetness, especially as regards the principal figure, 
the head of which partakes more of the Sienese character. A 
very carefully executed Vera Icon, of mild expression, in the 
Cathedral of Prague, is also considered the work of this 
painter. 

Another Modenese artist, Barnala da Modena, was con- 
temporary with Tommaso. A half-length Virgin and Child 
in the Sta'del Institut, Frankfort, is inscribed " Barnabas de 
Mutina 1367." " This is uglier than Cimdbue, with blue 

* According to Lanzi, a certain Lianori subscribed himself " Petrus 
Johannis." ' Storia Pittorica,' v. 5, p. 17. A picture in the gallery at 
Bologna, which bears the inscription " Petrus Lianoris, p. 1453," does not 
at all coincide with the style of the above-mentioned frescoes : it is hard 
and severe. 

t D'Agincourt, pi. 133, fig. I. 



Chap. III. . EARLY PADUAN SCHOOL. 191 



half-tints and remarkable lights in flesh, apparently projecting 
from violence of gradation, like excrescences ; in this respect 
contrasting with the flatness of early works."* Another in- 
scribed work a Virgin and Child is in the Berlin Museum. 
He is believed to have lived a great part of his life in Pied- 
mont, and two of his altar pieces are in S. Francesco at 
Pisa.f 

Serafino de' Serafini of Modena was a weaker artist than 
the foregoing. He adhered more to the Bolognese school. 
His name and period, 1385, are fixed by an inscription on a 
Coronation of the Virgin in the Cathedral of Modena. 

Early painters of Ferrara are scarcely entitled to mention, 
affording little more than a list of antiquated names. The 
Ferrarese school is surmised to have taken its rise cotempo- 
raneously with that of Venice, and to have been derived from 
a Greek painter settled in that city. Gelasio di Niccold, 
Antonio Alberti da Ferrara, and Laudadio Rambaldo, are names 
attached to decaying frescoes mostly of a low Giottesque 
character. 

As regards the school of Pistoia the early annals scarcely 
even offer certain names. 

Incomparably more important in the history of art are the 
group of painters who flourished at Padua in the fourteenth 
century. Indeed, it may be truly said that, with the excep- 
tion of Tuscany, no city or district of Italy possesses such 
excellent wall-pictures of that period. Padua was at that 
time governed by the Carraras, a race distinguished for their 
love of art, though the principal means of its encouragement 
may be traced to the church containing the body of St. 
Anthony, for the decoration of which the highest artistic 
power was called into requisition.^ 

At the same time it must be admitted that this older 
school of Padua was essentially an offset from the Florentine. 
If Giotto be the great leader at Florence, he must also be con- 

* Memorandum by Sir C. L. E., Frankfort, 1858. 

f See for specimens both of Tommaso and Barnaba da Modena, D'Agin- 
court, pi. 133. 

J We are indebted for our information on this subject chiefly to a series 
of treatises by E. Forster in the ' Kunstblatt,' 1837, Nos. 3 to 17, and to an 
article upon Giimto Padovmo in the same, 1841, No. 36. 



192 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

sidered the same here, where he is represented by one of his 
grandest works the frescoes in the chapel of the Arena. 
His followers here were also not all natives of Padua cer- 
tainly not the most distinguished of them and they differ so 
much among each other in style, that beyond the foundation, 
for which they were all alike indebted to Giotto, no other 
common feature can be said to characterize the school. 

In the first place it is very doubtful whether Giotto, upon 
the completion of the frescoes in the chapel just mentioned, 
after 1303, left any immediate scholars in Padua. The his- 
tory of Paduan art is silent from that time till the period of 
Giunto Padovano, described in Crowe and Cavalcaselle as 
Giusto di Giovanni, of the Menubuoi family of Florence, whose 
only authentic picture bears the date 1367, and who was 
besides a Florentine by birth. This picture, in the posses- 
sion of Prince Friederich von Ottingen Wallerstein, is a small 
altar-piece with wings ; the centre picture containing the 
Coronation of the Virgin, with angels and saints the inner 
side of the wings, the Annunciation, Nativity, and Crucifixion 
the outer side, the history of the Virgin to the time of her 
marriage with Joseph. The whole indicates a follower of 
Taddeo Gaddi, whose style of conception is here united with 
great softness of forms, powerful shadows, and a fuller ar- 
rangement of drapery. Other works hitherto ascribed to 
Giunto have been now assigned to two painters called Giovanni 
and Antonio da Padova. Nothing certain, however, is known 
of them, and the question whether the great frescoes in the 
baptistery of the Cathedral at Padua (founded 1380, by Fina 
Buzzacarina) and those in St. Luke's Chapel in the Santo 
(church of S. Antonio), founded about 1382, were the joint 
work of the three, or executed by Giunto alone, must remain 
open. As regards the Baptistery, the symbolic arrangement 
of subjects usual in edifices dedicated to this rite is seen here 
in great perfection. In the cupola we perceive Christ with the 
Virgin, with five circles round them, consisting of cherubs, 
angels with musical instruments, patriarchs and apostles, pro- 
phets and martyrs, the Fathers of the Church, and lastly a 
numerous body of saints. Then, in a lower circle beneath the 
cupola, the events of the Old Testament to the time of Joseph 



Chap. III. EARLY PADUAN SCHOOL. 193 

in the pendentives of the cupola the four Evangelists ; and 
finally, upon the walls of the church, in several pictures, the 
histories of Christ and of the Baptist, with various fantastic 
representations from the Apocalypse. But the painter or 
painters were not equal to the undertaking, and in point of 
picturesque composition, animation of single figures, drawing, 
and character, we may reckon this work as one of the most 
inferior attempted by Giotto's followers. The paintings in 
the chapel of St. Luke (a canonised monk) are better, 
chiefly referring to the legends of this saint and of the 
Apostles James the Less and Philip. At all events, however 
rude in point of artistic feeling, they contain many good and 
lively motives, and that consistent distribution of shadow 
which also pervades the frescoes of the Baptistery. The 
Crucifixion of St. Philip near Hierapolis contains, for ex- 
ample, a well-understood group of plebeian assailants, who, 
with some figures better clad, are throwing stones. A third 
work, formerly ascribed to Giunto, which has perished, 
deserves mention for the subject's sake. These were the 
frescoes of a chapel of the church degli Eremitani, repre- 
senting the Liberal Arts under the figures of those individuals 
distinguished for them ; the Vices, by a series of portraits of 
those noted for their practice ; ending with a circle of pious 
Augustin monks. 

Cotemporary, however, in Padua with Giovanni and 
Antonio, had now arisen that painter, who, with the exception 
of Orcagna, must be considered as the worthiest follower 
of Giotto. This was D'Avanzo Veronese*, who, with his 
(probably somewhat older) fellow-artist Aldighiero da Zevio, 
began the decorations of the Cappella S. Felice, in the church 
of S. Antonio, in 1376, and those of the Cappella S. Giorgio, in 
the space before that church, in 1377. With the works of 
the masters before mentioned the authors of the works just 

* D'Avanzo has been hitherto mistaken for a Bolognese, having been 
confounded with Jacobus Pauli, or Jacobo cTAvanzo, already mentioned. But 
the remains of an inscription in the Cappella S. Giorgio lead to the sup- 
position that Verona was the birthplace of l/'Acamo a circumstance 
which must not lead to the second mistake of confounding him with 
a certain Jacobus of Verona, an insignificant and mechanical artist, who 
executed an Adoration of the Kings, now in the Pisani palace at Padua. 
Zevio, Aldighiero 1 s birthplace, lies near Verona. 

O 



194 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III 

described these last have nothing in common beyond the 
general groundwork of style, and the aim at a more complete 
system of modelling ; otherwise they stand to them in the 
relation of artists to artisans.* 

The Capella S. Felice contains a series of frescoes, repre- 
senting scenes from the legends of St. James the elder, and, 
in three divisions on the principal wall, a large Crucifixion, 
all arranged in a peculiar manner, resulting from the form of 
the architecture. The seven first pictures appear to be 
by the hand of Aldighiero. These are compositions full of 
life and expression, of powerful and decided drawing, and 
rich in characteristic motives. Giotto's dramatic mode of 
conception is adopted here with much spirit. In that 
picture, for instance, where St. James is instructing those 
who have been led away by the magicians, the various scenes 
of the listening crowd, of the plotting magicians, and of the 
final destruction of these latter by fiends, are combined in 
the most masterly manner. In the next scene the Saint is 
advancing with the utmost energy to anathematise the fiends, 
while the Jews are seen conspiring together to effect his 
overthrow. And thus the narrative continues to unfold it- 
self with a clearness, a decision, and a plastic completeness, 
surpassed by no other examples of the school of Giotto. The 
fourth picture is especially fine the landing of the body of 
St. James on the Spanish coast. The body of the Saint is 
laid upon a stone on the sea-shore, in front of a castle, while 
every action of the attendants bespeaks the deepest respect 
and sympathy. An angel is holding the rudder of the 
vessel (see woodcut). In these pictures the painter has 
succeeded in the most difficult artistic efforts ; in that, for 
instance, of representing a knight plunged in a river and 
attempting in vain to climb the high shore, with many 
others of the same kind. 

* The respective claims of Aldighiero or of D'Avanzo to the highest 
place, and the right adjustment of their works, are debated points with 
connoisseurs. Messrs. Crowe and Cavalcaselle have not solved the question, 
though they have spared no pains in the attempt. As respects the chapel 
of S. Felice, formerly S. Jacobo, it appears from documents that the pay- 
ments for the wall-pictures were made to Aldighiero. In the absence of 
greater certainty, the excellent description by Kugler has been adhered to. 
In admiration of the art of S. Felice connoisseurs are unanimous. 




S. Felice of St. Anvtony's Church ! 



Chap. III. EARLY PADUAN SCHOOL. 195 

While Aldighiero, on the one hand, like the other followers 
of Giotto, adhered still more than that master to the general 
appearances of life and character, and indulged to a greater 
extent in the hahit of individualising, D'Avanzo, on the other, 
remarkable as he was for a decided similarity to the style of 
Aldighiero, exhibited that totally new direction of thought 
which soon led to a thorough transformation of the school 
which Giotto had formed. This transition is analogous in 
nature with that which we perceive in the cotemporary 
school of Cologne, though ascribable to totally different 
causes. Every figure, considered separately, which had 
hitherto, under a generalised aspect, only taken its place 
as part of a whole, was now recognised as possessing an 
independent interest. It is remarkable to observe how 
the predilection for individuality of character now began to 
keep pace with the attention to the general conception of the 
subject, and perhaps, in some respects, outstripped it. This 
is immediately apparent in the next picture, where the body 
of St. James is being carried into the castle of the Countess 
Lupa.* Here the actions and gestures of the people crowd- 
ing round the vehicle are given with the utmost minuteness 
of detail. The other pictures are less distinct and successful 
in composition, and also, in part, over-painted. The large 
Crucifixion, on the other hand, in three compartments 
divided by pillars, afforded the artist ample field for the ex- 
hibition of his peculiar gifts ; and we here trace new and 
animated motives, easy movements and positions, soft 
and beautiful forms, and abovp all, a thorough carrying out of 
these qualities into the minutest details. We observe, more- 
over, an admirable understanding of character, especially in 
the expression of sorrow and anxiety. The general concep- 
tion is not particularly grand or poetical, owing perhaps to 
the unfavourable form of the spaces. One novel feature is 
the group of spectators returning from the Crucifixion. 

But It'Avanzo's style of conception is seen to incomparably 
more advantage in the frescoes of the Cappella S. Giorgio.t 

* For the legend of St. James the Elder see Mrs. Jameson's 'Sacred and 
Legendary Art,' 1848, vol. i. p. 208. 

f These frescoes, which for more than a century had been covered with 
dust and consigned to oblivion, were brought to light, in 1837, by Dr. E. 

2" 



196 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

These consist of twenty-four large pictures, representing the 
youthful history of Christ, the Coronation of the Virgin, the 
Crucifixion, and the legends of St. George, St. Lucy, and St. 
Catherine.* Formerly the roof was also decorated with the 
figures of the Prophets. Aldighiero's portion in this series is 
contradictorily described by the various authorities, and can- 
not be pronounced upon with any certainty.* The principal 
part, however, may undoubtedly be considered to have been 
the work of D'Avanzo. 

Upon the whole, we may consider the painter of these 
works to have been the first among his cotemporaries for 
fulness of dramatic power, though he aimed less than they at 
scenes of violent action. Giotto and his followers looked 
upon the surface of their pictures as a field requiring to be 
filled with the utmost possible variety of life ; and as the 
higher understanding of landscape and architecture in short, 
as the artistic completeness of the subject to be represented 
by means of outer accessories was beyond their power, they 
instinctively endeavoured to supply it by accompanying the 
chief personage with a numerous retinue of figures, who, by 
their interest in the subject, helped to explain it. _D' Avanzo's 
understanding of landscape and perspective is far more 
matured. At the same time he retains the Giottesque mode of 
conception, but animates it afresh with a depth and variety of 
character peculiar to himself. In his compositions most 
crowded with figures, the principal idea, the moment of 
action, is always clearly and forcibly developed ; in this he 
was assisted by a gift of expression and a knowledge of form 
such as no painter had ever previously combined. The 
picture of the Crucifixion (on the altar-wall) is superior in 
every respect to that in the chapel of S. Felice, displaying in 
its separate groups a modification of the various modes 
by which a participation in the principal event is usually ex- 
pressed, such as scarcely any other Crucifixion picture ex- 

Forster, who, assisted by the proper authorities, cleaned and restored 
them. See ' Wandgemalde der S. Georgen Kapelle zu Padua,' by Dr. E. 
Forster, with 14 plates. Berlin, 1841. 

* Vasari's authority on this subject (see ' Life of Vittore Carpaccio ') is 
not entitled to the least respect. Among other mistakes, he makes out 
Aldighiero and Zeoio (' Sebeto ') to be two different painters. 




Fresco by D'Avanzo. m Si. Gaor&e'f Chapel, Padua. 



p. 137. No. 1. 



Cnap. 111. EARLY PADUAN SCHOOL. 197 

hibits. The head of the dead Saviour is especially fine 
here the painter has aimed far more to give the expression of 
divinity than that of the languor of death. Among the 
pictures on the entrance wall, the Adoration of the Kings is 
the composition most distinguished as combining the greatest 
richness with the discreetest regularity. In the Flight into 
Egypt, the smiling countenance of the Virgin, with the 
Child looking gaily upwards, has a peculiar charm. Here, 
as in the same subject by Giotto, the scone is enlivened by 
several other figures. The legendary subjects on the side- 
wall contain also a perfect treasury of new and animated 
features. The baptism of the heathen king and his people 
combines again the greatest fulness with the clearest unity. 
The Saint is baptizing the monarch, while his family kneel 
around with an expression of eager expectation. Fresh 
spectators are hurrying to the spot, and even a couple of 
children are trying to find a space behind a pillar where 
they can witness the scene. In the succeeding pictures, St. 
George forms an excellent contrast to the magician his 
persecutor, who stands lurking by, while the saint, with a 
cheerful countenance, empties the cup of poison. The sub- 
ject of his martyrdom is also admirably given. The Saint 
lies in prayer, extended upon the wheel, the iron bars of 
which have just been broken by two angels to the terror of 
all present, in whom the varieties of expression are power- 
fully given (see woodcut). The scene takes place in the 
court-yard of a palace. The four pictures containing the 
legends of this saint are in a bad state of preservation, and 
were probably executed by some assistant, though the inven- 
tion may be D'Avanzo's. The finest is the parting between 
two philosophers condemned to death. On the other hand, 
the pictures which represent the history of St. Lucy are well 
preserved, and of the highest order. The second of them 
represents the miracle of several soldiers and six oxen trying 
in vain to move the Saint from her place. Here the sin- 
gularity of the subject is forgotten in the great merits of the 
mode of representation : the Saint is standing looking up to 
heaven in the attitude of the grandest repose, surrounded by 
a crowd of excited spectators, some of whom are appealing to 



198 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book IIL 

the praetor, while the others exhibit the greatest alarm and 
perplexity of mind. 

In both these cycles of pictures the subject did not allow 
the master the exercise of that grandeur of allegorically ex- 
pressed thought which inspired Giotto and Orcagna in their 
highest productions. Nor is the painter to be compared 
with either of those in higher poetical conception, in power, 
elevation, and fulness of idea. On the other hand, he equals 
them in unity and roundness of composition, and surpasses 
them and every other cotemporary in all that belongs 
to picturesque completeness ; and this in so remarkable a 
degree, that he must ever be considered a most extraordinary 
painter for the fourteenth century, and as one forming an 
early transition to the style of the fifteenth. He it was who 
(with Fra Angelica) first arrested the forms of special expres- 
sion without departing far from the general and the ideal on 
the one hand, or degenerating into portraiture on the other. 
Devotion, resignation, wonder, and terror he expresses with 
equal perfection, and that not only by the play of the features, 
but by the whole attitude by the hands and the position of 
the knees. In the expression of malice only he has not been 
successful, as we see in the Crucifixion in the chapel of S. 
Felice ; not that he degenerates into caricature, like other 
masters of the time, but subsides rather into something un- 
meaning and insipid. The heads of his holy personages are 
one and all of a grand style of beauty ; and if, in respect of 
knowledge of the human form, and in the disposing of drapery, 
he made no particular progress, the century is, at all events, 
indebted to him for that power of modelling and gradation of 
tones which may be considered as his second great excellence, 
and which D'Avanzo alone in those times so developed. For 
though it was not till several years later that Masaccio defined 
the true principles of these qualities in art, yet, by a happy 
empiricism, D'Avanzo brought the thing itself to light, while 
the other followers of Giotto continued to be satisfied with 
a mere general indication. 

Endowed witli this power of individuality, and assisted 
with hia improved modes of art, this painter now advanced a 
step which places him far beyond all his predecessors. In 



Chap. III. EARLY PADUAN SCHOOL. 199 

his works are seen the first attempts at optical illusion, and 
this is the important point at which he was joined by the 
later Paduan school of Squarcione and Mantegna. This, it 
is evident, had long been the object of his thoughts and 
efforts. In the Crucifixion in the chapel of S. Felice, and in 
many of the pictures we have named, we recognise partial 
attempts and experiments in this department. The last 
picture, however, in the history of St. Lucy of Syracuse is 
the first in which he attained any great result, and this alone 
would have served to throw off the forms of the Giotto 
school, had the efforts of D'Avanzo been followed by those of 
any immediate successors. The picture contains, like many 
others of his, a double representation of the subject. In the 
vestibule of the church, behind, we see the mortally wounded 
saint in the act of receiving the Host, while in the foreground 
the body lies upon a decorated bier, surrounded by sorrowing 
men and women. Here the drawing is not only more correct, 
the colouring finer and more lively, and the execution more 
finished than in the other pictures, but the power of in- 
dividualizing is carried further. The architectural perspec- 
tive, also, which, in his other productions, is treated with 
more care than in any other cotemporary work, is here 
brought to a certain completeness ; the figures are rightly 
softened according to their degrees of distance, and those 
standing behind are divided from those in front by a slight 
tint of air. 

Other works by D'Avanzo, in which perhaps his new 
tendency may have been more fully developed, have now 
perished ; for instance, two symbolical triumphal processions 
in the palace of La Scala at Verona, and some " Sposalizj " in 
the house of Count Serenghi, also at Verona, which are re- 
ported to have been full of contemporary costumes and 
portraits. 

There is no evidence to show that D'Avanzo exercised any 
influence upon his fellow-painters. Hubert van Eyck, who 
in 1377 was still a boy, and Masaccio, who at that time was 
not born, were left subsequently to re-discover those secrets in 
art which he had already practised. Least of all was he 
imitated or studied by the Paduans themselves. We need 



200 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

quote only two large works of the beginning of the fifteenth 
century which repeat the style of Giotto in the most vapid 
manner. One of these consists in the frescoes which adorn the 
cupola and walls of the colossal saloon, or Sala della Eagione, at 
Padua. Formerly, the invention of this work was assigned to 
the celebrated magician, Pietro di Abano, and the execution to 
Giotto ; now, however, there is reason to believe that the whole 
was painted after 1420, and by a certain Giovanni Miretto. It 
is one of the most difficult works of art existing to explain. 
Nothing but a correct knowledge of the astrological systems 
of the fifteenth century could furnish the key, and much, 
even under these circumstances, must remain for ever incom- 
prehensible. Here we find the influence of the stars upon 
the seasons and upon the aifairs of men symbolized in a row 
of nearly 400 pictures, arranged side by side, or one above 
the other, and in no way divided into any surveyable order 
of arrangement. Various human achievements and events 
are thus treated, from their very nature, in the true genre 
manner, although the mode of representation adheres strictly 
to the style of Giotto. Besides the allegorically personified 
months, planets, &c., we also perceive the figures of the 
Apostles, of the Virtues, a colossal St. Mark, and many 
others.* The forms are throughout general and insipid, and 
even the better figures, as for example the Apostles, are 
mere repetitions of well-known types. Every part also has 
been repeatedly over-painted. 

The second work alluded to are the wall-paintings in the choir 
of the church of the Eremitani (Padua), believed to be by one 
Guariento 1330_ to 1336 a native of Padua, who spent 
much of his time in Venice. Christ is here represented as the 
Judge of the World, with the Apostles, three and three, on each 
side ; then the Fathers of the Church, the Prophets, the his- 
tories of the Apostles Philip and James the Less, four subjects 
from the legends of the Augustine Order, with many others, 
all of inferior artistic value, and most of them over-painted. 
The best preserved are the figures of the planets in chiaroscuro 
along the walls below, which here, as in the Sala, are con- 

* For a further account of these strange pictures, which we cannot enter 
upon at greater length, see E. Forster, 'KunstbJ.', 1838, No. 15. 



Chap. III. SCHOOLS OF UPPER ITALY. 201 

nected with the affairs of human life in some inexplicable 
way. 

A Crucifixion by Guariento exists in the Pinacoteca at 
Bassano, signed with his name and a long inscription. He is 
sup*posed to have flourished as early as 1316, and to have 
been buried in S. Bernardino. He shows no trace of Giotto's 
influence, or, indeed, of the revival of art even under 
Cimabue. 

Verona, of which, as we have already stated, Aldighiero 
and D'Avanzo were probably natives, possesses a consider- 
able number of wall-paintings of the fourteenth century ; 
for example, those in the Presbytery of S. Nazzaro, in S. 
Anastasia, in S. Zeno, and in other places ; chiefly figures of 
saints of a statuesque character, agreeing more or less with 
the Florentine principle of style. In the frescoes by Stefano 
da Zevio (over a side door of S. Eufemia, and in a recess 
on the outer wall of S. Fermo) warmth of colouring is com- 
bined with some grace. A similar style is displayed in an 
altar-piece, now in the gallery of the Council Hall at Verona. 
It bears the inscription " Opus Turoni, 1360," and represents 
the Trinity, with the Coronation of the Virgin and various 
saints on the sides. 

Other cities of northern Italy have been searched in vain 
for early works of any interest ; such vestiges as survive show 
generally a very low stage of taste. Michele di Honco and 
MicJielino are names of Milanese artists which Vasari seems 
to have confounded. The former lived between 1366 and 
1373,* .the latter belongs to the fifteenth century. Michelino 
was noted for representations of animals. A book of draw- 
ings of animals by him is recorded as belonging to the Casa 
Vendramini at Venice.t He is also the author of some curious 
frescoes of family groups in the costume of their time in the 
Casa Borromeo, Milan. A later Milanese, of whom only one 
work has survived, and that in Naples, bore the name of 
Leonardo di Bissuccio. This specimen consists in the paint- 
ings of the octagon monumental chapel of Sergiani Carracciolo 
(seneschal and lover of the younger queen Joanna), behind 

Tassi, Vite, &c., Bergamo, 1793. 
Anonimo di Morelli, p. 81. 



202 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

the choir of S. Giovanni a Carbonara, built 1433. Above the 
entrance-door is seen, on a colossal scale, Christ crowning 
the Virgin, both enfolded in the arms of the First Person of 
the Trinity, and surrounded with angels. Below, to the left, 
are several members of the Carracciolo family, and next the 
door, in a circular form, the portrait of the Seneschal naked, 
as he was found after his murder. Other parts of the chapel 
contain scenes from the Life of the Virgin, an Annunciation, 
and several single figures of saints. The whole style is 
essentially Giottesque, but the form and expression of the 
heads is sweeter, especially of the angels, which recall Fra 
Angelico. The portraits are individual in character, the 
arrangement of the whole simple and grand.* 

Fragments of wall-paintings in the vaulted ceiling of the 
transept of the cathedral at Cremona are by a rude hand, but 
curious as regards costume. They are assigned to one 
Polidoro Caselta, who lived 1345. 

In Parma also the walls of the Baptistery are covered with 
rude productions to which the name of Bartolino da Piacenza 
is attached ; and in Piacenza itself there are wall paintings, and 
a picture in eight compartments in S. Antonio, which are 
assigned to that painter. 

In the Province of the Friuli the fa$ade of the Cathedral 
of Gemona was covered with frescoes of the life of St. Chris- 
topher, signed Maguta Nicolaus now destroyed. The same 
hand is seen in an elaborate and curious fresco in the church 
of Venzone, five miles from Gemona. 

Venice now claims attention. She may be said to have 
been, as regards art, a Byzantine colony. Everything' in 
this peculiar city bore so Oriental a character that it is easy 
to understand how her people adhered to that which the 
dawning taste of other parts of Italy had thrown off. Thus 
established and fed for Venice continued to keep up her 
relations with the East she offered a strength of opposition 
to the new tendencies in art such as they had encountered in 
no other parts of Italy. From the middle of the fourteenth 

* See Passavant, Beitrage zur Geschichte der alten Malerschulen in 
der Lombardei ' Kunstbl.' 1838, No. 66, and following numbers. An 
inscription leaves no doubt of the name and origin of the master. 



Chap. III. EARLY VENETIAN SCHOOL. 203 

century, however, the partial introduction of these innovations, 
though under different forms and combinations, could no longer 
be impeded. None of those grand allegorical subjects, none 
of those profoundly pensive poems with which the school of 
Giotto decorated whole buildings, are to be found here ; even 
the historical representations are, in point of character, of 
inferior order, while the altar-pictures retain longer than 
elsewhere the gilt, canopied compartments and divisions, and 
with them the tranquil position of single figures. The de- 
velopment which attended these beginnings, and the form of 
art which the school was subsequently to attain, was first 
manifested in the fifteenth century. 

We begin with one of the few works of a monumental 
character, namely, with the mosaics of the chapel of S. Isidore 
in St. Mark's (at the end of the left transept, executed 1350). 
The principal features of the Gothic style predominate here 
almost exclusively, though not accompanied either with the 
poetic grandeur or the solemn beauty of the better followers 
of Giotto : on the contrary, they combine with careful exe- 
cution an awkward and unimaginative form of composition. 
Further examples of this kind are to be found in the Venetian 
Academy (the Belle Arti) ; for instance, a large altar-piece 
consisting of many compartments the Coronation of the 
Virgin by Niccolb Semitecolo. This consists of fourteen 
scenes from the life of Christ (the centre picture by a later 
hand), and is signed and dated 1351. He is the first re- 
presentative of this early school, though he shows but little 
of its dawning qualities. His productions correspond some- 
what with those of Duccio, though without his excellence, 
while the gold hatchings, olive-brown complexion, and many 
a motive are still directly Byzantine. Another altar-piece 
by him, now divided, in the Chapter House of the cathedral at 
Padua, with the history of St. Sebastian, is dated 1367. He is 
known to have lived till 1400. It is a question whether Niccolb 
Semitecolo is not identical with another Niccolb by whom a 
picture, formerly in the Manfrini collection, now exists in the 
Belle Arti. The subject is a Madonna with the Child, and little 
angels playing on musical instruments, not without grace, 
especially in the smooth and almost Sienese drapery. The 



204 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

artist has given the place of his dwelling " Niccolo, the son 
of Maestro Pietro, painter in Venice, residing at the entrance 
of the Paradise Bridge, painted this work in the year 1394,"- 
thus showing the kind of artist life in a rich commercial city. 

Another altar-piece, with the Coronation of the Virgin in 
the centre, by Lorenzo Veneziano, is more indicative of the 
transition period. It bears the date 1357 or 1367, and 
though of a very severe style, the heads have a soft expres- 
sion and the draperies fall in round and easy folds. In 
some respects we here detect an immediate influence of the 
Tuscan School. A third altar-piece, formerly ascribed to 
Micliele Onoria, now to Michele Mattel da Bologna (Lamber- 
tini), shows a further progress. The centre picture represents 
the Madonna with saints, with the Crucifixion and the 
Evangelists above, and the history of St. Helena below. This 
is much more in the character of the time, with delicate 
folds, and a light carnation, which, however, still retains 
something of Byzantine greenness in the shadows. The 
countenances are delicate, but not of any character. 

Another tendency may be traced in Venice about the first 
half of the fifteenth century. This is a peculiar melting soft- 
ness, not deficient in dignity and earnestness, which pervades 
the pictures of that time. The drapery is in those long 
and easy lines which we see in the Tuscan pictures of the 
fourteenth century; the colouring deep and transparent, 
the carnation unusually soft and warm, almost an anticipation 
of the later excellences of the Venetian school. As early as 
in a beautiful altar-piece by Michiel Giambono (who painted 
at that time in Venice), representing a Christ and four saints, 
and now in the Venetian Academy, this tendency is seen in 
most decided character. The same may be said of Jacobello 
del Fiore, one of whose works, a Madonna, with the date 1434 
(in other respects a picture of no interest), is in the Manfrini 
Gallery at Venice. 

But the worko in which we see this tendency most com- 
pletely developed are those of the two conjointly painting 
artists, Giovanni and Antonio da Murano (one of the Vene- 
tian islands). The last-named belongs to the family of the 
Vicarini, whom we shall notice later: the first, from the 



Chap. III. EARLY" VENETIAN SCHOOL. 205 

frequent addition of Alamannus to his name, appears to have 
been a German. Two excellent pictures by both are in the 
gallery of the Venetian Academy. The one dated 1440 is a 
Coronation of the Virgin, with many figures ; among them 
some beautiful boys of earnest expression, holding the instru- 
ments of the Crucifixion : around are seated numerous saints, 
in whose beads we perceive the ideal type of the Gothic 
style, mingled with signs of individual character, somewhat in 
the manner of Meister Stephan of Cologne (an early repetition 
of this picture is in S. Pantaleone at Venice, Cappella della 
Madonna di Loreto). The other piece, dated 1446, is a 
picture of enormous dimensions, representing the Madonna 
enthroned, beneath a canopy sustained by angels, with the 
four Fathers of the Church at her side. Here the Madonna 
is very graceful, but the four saints, though of dignified 
character, are all without grandeur, and somewhat prosaically 
conceived. The colouring is glowing and brilliant, as in 
the works of Giambono. Several fine pictures by both these 
artists, dated 1445, are to be seen in the inner chapel of 
S. Zaccaria in Venice. They are of higher and milder 
expression than those we have described. Among them the 
altar-piece on the left, with figures of saints, side by side 
and one above the other, is particularly well preserved. A 
Madonna enthroned is said to be in S. Fosca. 

Finally, we must mention as a masterwork of this old 
Venetian School the Cappella de' Mascoli in St. Mark's, the 
walls of which exhibit the Birth, Presentation, Annunciation, 
and Death of the Virgin ; and the waggon roofs the circular 
pictures of the Virgin and two prophets ; all executed in 
mosaics by the hand of the same Giambono just mentioned, 
and commenced about 1430. While this species of art, on 
account of its inability to meet the higher artistic requirements 
of the time, had almost ceased in other parts of Italy, it was 
destined to attain here in St. Mark's one of its greatest 
triumphs. It is true that the higher architectural principle 
which formed the style of the older mosaics is here no longer 
observed ; these being merely historical paintings of a very 
developed kind, transposed into neat and fine mosaics : but at 
the same time the order of the arrangement, the beauty and 



206 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

expression of the forms, the brilliant colours, and the splendid 
architectural backgrounds which have the merit of being 
correct in perspective raise this work not only above all 
the other mosaics in the building, but assign to it a high 
place in the historical painting of the day. The artist, who, 
in an inscription, expressly declares himself a Venetian, died 
about 1450.* 

How the early Venetian school, however, arrived at this 
state of development remains still uncertain. We do not here 
recognise the influence of the school of Giotto, but rather 
the types of the Gothic style, gradually assuming a new 
character. In respect to the peculiarities of the school, we are 
tempted to regard them in connection with the social condition 
of Venice itself. There was something, perhaps, in the nature 
of a rich commercial aristocracy of the middle ages calculated 
to encourage that species of art which offered the most splen- 
dour and elegance to the eye ; and this also, if possible, in 
a portable form ; thus preferring the domestic altar, or the 
votive picture, to those great and solemn works which 
contain a whole world of events and thoughts, but in a slighter 
form of execution. The cotemporary Flemish paintings, 
under similar conditions, exhibit analogous results. The 
depth and transparency of separate colours observable in the 
early Venetian school had been long a distinguishing element 
in the Byzantine paintings on wood, and may be therefore 
traceable to this source without our assuming an influence 
on the part of Padua, through the channel of D'Avanzo, or 
from the North through that of Johannes Alamannus (Gio. 
da Mwand).} 

We must now call the reader's attention to the painters of 
the March of Ancona and the adjacent districts, the most 
distinguished of whom stand in closest connection with the 
Venetian School. 

Nothing is clearer than the fact that the Umbrian school 

* Compare Zanetti, Notizie intorno, alle Pitture di Musaico della 
Chiesa Ducale di S. Marco : an appendix to his work, ' Delia Pittura 
Veneziana,' 1771, p. 566. C. L. E. 

t See Venetian prayer-book, with miniatures, executed about 1400, now 
in the Royal Library at Paris, described by Waagen, ' Kuiistw. und Kiinstl. 
in Paris,' p. 321. 



Chap. III. PAINTERS OF THE MARCH OF ANCONA. 207 



took its rise from Sienese examples. This is explained by 
the geographical position of Gubbio and Fabriano, while the 
temper of a race more akin to the mercurial Sienese than to 
the graver Florentine further favoured this origin. A dis- 
position to exaggerate the affectation and tenderness of the art 
of Siena marks the Gubbian painters and their neighbours at 
Fabriano; Prettiness was their chief quality a character- 
istic destined to contribute by its development in Perugia and 
Urbino to the greatness of Raphael. A smiling gaiety gave 
charm to their works, which bore at the same time the careful 
finish and flat brilliancy of miniatures. In Umbria the prac- 
tice of painting dates from the remotest times ; but in Gubbio 
it would be difficult to assign any name older than that of 
Oderisio, cotemporary of Giotto and Dante, and rescued from 
oblivion solely by that poet.* Oderisio is known by records 
to have been at Gubbio in 12(54, at Bologna in 1268, and in 
Rome in 1295, where he is said to have died in 1299. Vasari 
is our authority that Giotto and Oderisio made acquaintance 
in Rome. Dante's knowledge of him is supposed to have 
occurred between 1285 7. No certain works by him are 
known, but there are miniatures in the Archivio de' Canonici 
of St. Peter's at Rome, which are presumed to be by his hand. 

Guid'y Palmeruccio is another early Gubbian painter, born 
1280, died about 1345. Yestiges of a St. Anthony by him 
are seen on an outer wall of S. Maria de' Laici at Gubbio. 
A large fresco in the upper chapel of the Palazzo del 
Commune is an important example of this school of the first 
half of the fourteenth century. It represents the Madonna 
and Child, with an aged Gonfaloniere kneeling below, and 
attended by several saints. This partakes of the character 
of the Lorenzetti. Another fresco recently freed from white- 
wash to the left of the entrance of S. Maria Nuova a St. 
Anthony shows the type which developed itself subse- 
quently in Perugia. 

A list of painters is recorded in Gubbio, which accounts 
for the now damaged frescoes in the crypt of S. Maria dei 
Laici, and in S. Francesco at Cagli ; but they have little 
internal interest. Gubbio had also a school of mosaicists. 
* ' Purgatorio,' canto xi. v. 79. 



208 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book IIL 

We turn to Fabriano, where we are met by the Tuscan in- 
fluence in the person of Gritto da Fabriano, now identified 
as Allegretto di Nuzio. This painter appears on the Register 
at Florence in 1346. His earliest work is in the Museo 
Cristiano in the Vatican a small altar-piece with Virgin and 
Child and numerous attendant figures, signed and dated 1365. 
Another altar-piece is in the sacristy of the Cathedral at 
Macerata, dated 1369. A third, dated 1372, is now in the 
collection of Signor Romoaldo Fornari at Fabriano. These, 
with other pictures believed to be by him,* show the 
connection between the schools of Gubbio and Fabriano 
which leads up to the superior art of Gentile da Fabriano. 
Allegretto is supposed to have died about 1385. 

Ottaviano di Martino Nelli f belongs to this district. His 
grandfather, Mattiolo, was a sculptor, his father, Martino, a 
painter in Gubbio. A wall painting by him of the Madonna 
with saints and numerous angels is preserved under glass 
in S. Maria Nuova at Gubbio, signed, and dated 1403 
(see woodcut). This is a gay mixture of unsubstantial 
figures on a blue diapered ground, with graceful heads, 
like a magnified miniature. He is known to have changed 
his residence from Gubbio to Urbino in 1420, and his 
works appear also in what was formerly the Trinci Palace, 
now the Palazzo del Governo, in Foligno, in a series of the 
life of the Madonna. His powers were mediocre, and though 
tradition asserts that Gentile da Fabriano worked on some 
occasions with him, yet no surviving picture by Ottaviano 
Nelti is of a class to corroborate this idea. Nothing is known 
of him after 1444. 

Gentile. di Niccolo di Giovanni Massi, otherwise Gentile da 
Fabriano,^. was probably born at Fabriano between 1360 and 
1370, and is asserted to have been a scholar of Allegretto di 
Nuzio. It is possible that in his manhood he derived some 
useful lessons from Ottaviano Nelli, whose style seems 
naturally linked with Allegretto's ; but if really a scholar of 

* See Crowe and Cavalcaselle, vol. ii. p. 196. 
t See ' Kunstblatt,' 1846, No. 59 ; Gaye, Cartegg. 1, p. 130. 
J See ' Elogio del Pitt. Gentile da Fabriano, scr. dal Marchese A. Cav 
Ricci,' Macerata, 1829. 



Chap. III. GENTILE DA FABRIANO. 209 

the last named lie quickly outstripped him. His manner has 
an affinity with that of Fra Angelica, though on the one hand 
he has not the deep devotional feeling of that master, while 
on the other he excels him in a freer conception of the ordinary 
events of life. Michael Angela is reported by Vasari to 
have said of Gentile, " aveva la mano simile al nome." 
Fra Angelica and Gentile are like two brothers, both highly 
gifted by nature, both full of the most refined and amiable 
feelings ; but the one became a monk, the other a knight. 
We compare the pictures of Gentile to the poems of the 
Minnesingers : they seem to breathe the joys of spring ; they 
have an air of inexpressible serenity, clouded by no doubt, 
no anxiety. A childlike delight in splendour and gold 
ornaments, which in his pictures are both embossed and 
incised, pervades all his works.* Of Gentile's life not 
much is known. His first patron was Pandolfo Malatesta, 
Lord of Brescia and Bergamo, for whom he decorated a 
chapel. He next removed to Venice, where he spent some 
years adorning the great hall of the Ducal Palace with 
frescoes from the life of Barbarossa, and with other works : 
all of which have perished. His labours in the Ducal Palace 
are supposed to have terminated before 1422. A solitary 
Virgin and Child in the Venetian Belle Arti bears his name, 
but is heavily over-painted. An Adoration of the Kings 
painted for the Zen family, and subsequently in the Craglietto 
collection, is now in the Berlin Museum, where it bears or 
bore the name of Antonio Vivarini. It showed at least the 
influence which Gentile exercised over the opening Venetian 
school. His residence at Venice is marked by the fact that 
Jacobo Bellini there entered his atelier as a scholar, which 
led to a friendship between them, and, when Jacobo married, 
Gentile held his first child at the baptismal font. The year 
in which Gentile settled at Florence is approximately defined 
by his entry into the Guild of the Barber Surgeons in 1422. 

* The gold decorations of Gentile, like those of most of his cotem- 
poraries, are sometimes laid on so thickly as to be in relief a practice 
consistent with the nature of such decoration : for as no kind of modelling 
in light and shade is possible in gold, the effect of such could only be 
attained by these means, for which, however, it was necessary to view the 
picture in one particular light. 

P 



210 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

In 1423 his signed and dated picture, the Adoration of the 
Kings, in the Accademia, Florence, by which he is now prin- 
cipally known, was executed for the church of the Trinita. 
This is his best work extant, and in the fulness of the 
composition and delicacy and richness of treatment we see 
the poetic naivete with which the feeling of the period 
invested this event (see woodcut). The heads are en- 
gaging and the features well understood, though the 
attempts to foreshorten the faces, upwards or downwards, 
are not successful. The figures, however, are full of high- 
bred grace. Over the arches which enframe the picture are 
smaller subjects, and the predella comprises the Nativity, 
Flight into Egypt, and the Presentation. In 1425, Gentile 
was still in Florence, where a picture so dated was executed 
for one of the Quaratesi family, and recorded as being in the 
church of S. Niccolo. The centre has disappeared, but the 
side panels representing four saints still remain there. The 
saint on the right has the best head. On the cope of 
St. Nicholas scenes from the Passion are given with exquisite 
minuteness. In the same year (1425) Gentile was called to 
Orvieto, where he painted a Virgin and Child on the wall to 
the left on entering the Cathedral, now under glass, though 
in its actual state not an attractive specimen of the master. 
From Orvieto Gentile was called to Home by Martin V., who 
died 1431. He painted a series of frescoes in St. John Lateran 
from the life of the Baptist. He also executed a portrait of 
the Pope with portraits of ten attendant cardinals, and in S. 
Francesco Komano (formerly S. Maria Nuova) he represented 
the Virgin and Child, with SS. Joseph and Benedict, which 
existed in the sixteenth century, but has disappeared since. 

At Fabriano there are pictures attributed to him in private 
houses, but none of sufficient excellence or so well preserved 
as to do -him credit. Pictures attributed to him are scattered 
in various galleries. A pleasing little picture, the Virgin 
and Child, with a Malatesta kneeling before them, belonged 
to the late Mr. Miindler, in Paris. 

Francesco Gentile da Fabriano, a follower and by some 
supposed to be a son of Gentile, and Antonio da Fabriano, 
probably also a follower, will be noticed in the ranks of the 






&m 

r 









m 




Chap. IV. SCHOOL OF NAPLES. 211 

Paduan school under Squarcione* Other and more eminent 
scholars of Gentile, such as Jacdbo Bellini and Benedetto 
Bonfigli, will also be mentioned in their places. 

More interesting are the earlier artists, Lorenzo and Jacdbo 
da S. Severino, the neighbours of Ottaviano Nelli and Gentile 
da Fabriano ; Lorenzo, the elder and more distinguished, 
forms a link between those two painters. A totally ruined 
Marriage of St. Catherine, belonging to the Cistercians of S. 
Severino, bears an inscription which shows Lorenzo to have 
been twenty-six years of age in 1400. Sixteen years later 
Lorenzo, assisted by his brother Jacdbo, decorated the oratory 
of S. Giovanni Battista at Urbino with incidents from the 
life of the Baptist, which, seen as a whole, create a 
striking impression, though, with the exception of some 
graceful heads and motives, there is little merit in the com- 
position, f 

A second Lorenzo da S. Severino, who flourished later, 
further developed the germs of grace seen in his predecessors. 
Two examples of his art, the one in the sacristy of a church 
at Pansola, near Macerata, the other a fresco in the collegiate 
church of Sarnano, are dated respectively 1481 and 1483. 
A third, a marriage of St. Catherine, originally at S. Lucia 
at Fabriano, is now in the National Gallery. He here signs 
himself " Laurentius II." apparently meaning Lorenzo the 
Second. A picture is recorded to have been painted by this 
Lorenzo as late as 1496. 



CHAPTER IV. 

SCHOOL OF NAPLES. 

GIOTTO, as we have already told, was summoned by King 
Robert, in 1330, to Naples, where he left j;he fine work in S. 
Chiara, still existing, and others elsewhere which have 
perished. That he exercised a certain influence in the 

* See Gave, ' Zur Kunstgeschichte,' in ' Kunstbl.', 1839, No. 21. 
f See Passavant's ' Rafael,' vol. i. p. 426, and further. 

p 2 



212 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

Neapolitan territory is evident, but there, as in other parts of 
Italy, he bequeathed his art to inferior men who followed the 
letter more than the spirit of the great master. The four- 
teenth century was there characterised by no works of note. 
An immediate connection with the style of Giotto is only recog- 
nisable in the illumination of a manuscript in the British 
Museum,* executed by order of King Kobert, the same 
monarch who invited Giotto to Naples. The illuminations 
are of a symbolical import, and agree with the school of Giotto 
in the mode of expressing allegorical subjects. We see, for 
instance, the figures of the seven liberal Arts kneeling before 
Pegasus, beneath whose hoof gushes forth the fount of song ; 
while Italy, as a weeping female, is standing before the king. 
The careful execution of this work reminds us so much of 
Giotto, that his personal influence may almost be concluded. 
The emotions are clearly expressed, the actions unusually 
lively and speaking. Of especial beauty is the piece in 
which seven angels are binding the demons. Here we see 
the happiest aim at grandeur, dignity, and beauty. 

Great obscurity prevails as to the early Neapolitan painters. 
Simone Napolitano is one to whom works are attributed 
indicating a rude imitation of Giotto. But his name has been 
too indiscriminately invoked. In the chapel of S. Antonio 
Abbate in S. Lorenzo Maggiore at Naples, an altar-piece, 
representing St. Anthony attended by four saints, has been 
attributed to him. The art of the work, however, is in 
keeping with the date, 1438, found upon it. On another 
and more important work, assigned to him, in S. Lorenzo 
Maggiore, representing St. Louis of Toulouse enthroned, 
placing a crown on the head of his brother Kobert, the 
following inscription has come to light, " Symon de Senis me 
pinxit." Such being the class of evidence on which the 
fame of Simone Napolitano has hitherto rested, it would be 
rash to dwell on works of a more obscure kind reputed as his. 
And this leads us to mention another painter till lately 
supposed to have been his cotemporary. The name of 
Colantonio del Fiore has been invested with the more in- 
terest from its supposed connection with the early use of oil 
* See Waagen, ' Kunstw. und Kiinstler in England,' vol. i. p. 149. 



Chap. IV. SCHOOL OF NAPLES. 213 

painting. This has been deduced from a picture in oil 
attributed to him, now in the Naples Gallery, representing 
St. Jerome extracting a thorn from the paw of his lion. But, 
if such a master ever existed, of which there is no present 
proof, this picture is certainly not by him. It is now upon 
convincing reasons assigned to the Flemish school.* 

Antonio Solario, called H Zingaro, is another Neapolitan 
name which has been attached to such pictures surviving in 
Naples as bore a Flemish impress. His history, as given by 
native historians and repeated by latqr Italian authors, is 
one series of the marvellous in fact, and inconsistent in date. 
The fact of his having married the daughter of Colantonio 
del Fiore is not confirmed by any reliable record. The 
pictures assigned to him at Naples and elsewhere are too 
diverse in period and style to have been the work of the 
same hand, and some of them are identified by modern 
connoisseurship as the work of later painters. In the 
Leuchtenberg Gallery at St. Petersburg he is confounded 
with his namesake, Andrea Solario of Milan. No certain 
works, as no certain facts, of this supposed master can be 
given, but it is believed that the frescoes in the court of the 
monastery of S. Severino, at Naples, are by Zingaro. They 
consist of twenty large pictures from the history of St. Bene- 
dict, simple and clever compositions, with no very grand 
type of heads, but of delicate modelling and good colouring. 
They are particularly distinguished by the fine landscape 
backgrounds, a very rare accompaniment to Italian frescoes, 
and not to be found in such perfection elsewhere at this early 
period. These paintings unhappily have suffered much, and 
in modern times have been barbarously retouched.! 

Among Zingaro 's scholars are classed two half brothers, 
Pietro and Ippolito Donzelli, the one born 1451, the other 
1455. They are stated to have assisted Zingaro in some 
of the frescoes in S. Severino, the manner of which shows 
nothing to refute the tradition. But it is now ascertained 
that both brothers laboured in Florence, where Ippolito 

* D'Agincourt, pi. 132. 

f The series has been engraved : ' Le Pitture dello Zingaro nel chiostro 
di S. Severino in Napoli, da Stanislao d'Aloe,' Napoli, 1846. C. L. E. 



214 MASTERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Book III. 

served his apprenticeship to Nero de 1 Bicci. Various panels 
in the Naples Museum are assigned to them, but, as with 
those attributed to Zingaro, they are all too diverse in style 
to afford any standard. 

Simone Papa the elder is also believed to be a scholar of 
Zingaro, and to have assisted in the S. Severino frescoes. 
The pictures assigned to him in the Naples Museum have a 
decidedly Flemish character. In a St. Michael weighing 
souls between two kneeling donors, attended by their patron 
saints, the figure of .the Archangel is apparently taken from 
Memling's Last Judgment at Dantzic. 

Silvestro de y Buoni, Gio. Ammanato, and others, are painters 
of still less importance. 

Cola dell' Amatrice, or Filotesio, is a dry painter, reputed 
of Neapolitan origin, who laboured chiefly in Ascoli and its 
vicinity. His pictures are signed, and their dates extend 
from 1513 to 1543. 

Andrea Sabbatini of Salerno, otherwise Andrea da Salerno, 
is a painter of a superior class. He is believed to have 
studied art in Naples, and having been struck with the 
pictures by Perugino there, to have started for Perugia, but 
to have been detained in Eome by his admiration for 
Raphael's productions. He will appear among the followers 
of Raphael. 

In Sicily, also, the style of Giotto found entrance, and led 
to further development. This is proved by the deed of the 
foundation of the Order of the Holy Ghost, 1352,* now in the 
Royal Library at Paris, which is adorned with miniatures. 
Though the proportions are long and meagre, the heads are 
animated, the actions significant and graceful, and the artist's 
feeling is delicate. 

* Waagen, ' Kunstw. und Kiinstl. in Paris,' p. 319. 



Book IV. INTRODUCTION. 215 



BOOK IY. 

THIRD STAGE OP DEVELOPMENT. 

MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY AND THEIR FOLLOWERS. 



INTRODUCTION. 

IN the first period of reviving art, toward the end of the 
fifteenth century, it was the aim of the artist to re- 
present the sacred subjects which had been handed down 
from an earlier age in a lively and impressive manner, and 
to enlarge the range of such representations in the same 
spirit. In the second period, his own mind and feelings came 
forth in free and self-productive energy ; he had become 
conscious of his own powers, of his own privileges ; but, for 
the perfection of art one element was still wanting the 
correct delineation of form, guided by the study of nature. 

The attainment of this element characterizes the third 
period, extending from the fifteenth to the beginning of the 
sixteenth century. The progress that had been made to- 
ward its acquisition during the two former periods had been 
very limited, as regards essentials. The imitation of nature, 
with a true and artless conception of characteristic moments 
and circumstances, had been successfully attempted in 
general respects only. A familiar acquaintance with the 
laws of form in its various appearances, extending to all its 
minutest details, was still retarded by the prevailing modes of 
representation, fettered as they were by prescribed types. 
The third period is the sera of the emancipation of art in its 
external relations, as the preceding periods had been of its 
internal life. In this instance again, the persevering con- 
sistency, and even exclusive predilection, with which the new 
aim was followed up, were calculated to produce peculiar 
and important results. 



216 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 



CHAPTER I. 

TUSCAN SCHOOLS. 

WE shall consider the painters belonging to this new period 
in the detached groups which present themselves in different 
parts of Italy. And first we turn to Florence, which in this 
century attained the zenith of her power, and where, under 
the auspices of the enlightened family of the Medici, the 
intellectual as well as material interests of the republic 
attained their highest splendour. Poetry and philosophy, 
architecture and sculpture, advanced with the art of painting 
toward the same perfection. A few Florentine artists, who 
mark the transition from the old to the new manner, first 
invite attention in the beginning of the fifteenth century; 
they unite with the still prevailing type of the preceding 
periods some indications of modelling, and a more correct 
delineation of form. Especially they show an increasing 
study of nature and a sense of the true science of per- 
spective. 

In these respects Paolo Uccello, his real name being Paolo 
Doni, believed to have been the founder of linear perspective, 
may be first mentioned.* Born in 1396, he was apprenticed to 
Lorenzo Ghiberti the sculptor, whose maxims of perspective, 
however inappropriately applied in his backgrounds and 
reliefs, may be supposed to have led to the profounder study of 
perspective and foreshortenings which distinguish his former 
" garzone de botega." We are not informed who taught 
Paolo Uccello, but his works point to the same source 
whence Masolino and Masaccio derived instruction. Uccello, 
however, drew with a hardness of line which reveals a 
familiarity with the modes of sculpture. Four pictures of 
battles, on panel, by this master, are recorded by Vasari as 
having belonged to the Bartolini family at Gualfonda, near 
Florence. Three of these survive one in the Uffizi, one in 

**Pietro detta Francesca may be said to have been the real founder 
of perspective. 



Chap. I. FLORENTINE SCHOOL. 217 

the Campana Gallery in the Louvre, and the third, and finest, 
in the National Gallery. This last i ; a work interesting 
more for its novel attempts than for its success ; showing 
much truth of action and movement, and one of the earliest 
aims at strong foreshortenings. His fresco works, the Creation 
of the World and History of Noah, in the cloisters of S. Maria 
Novella at Florence, though ruined by weather and neglect, so 
that where not absolutely defaced they offer nothing more than 
greenish under-paintings, are full of naturalistic incidents. 
The scene of the Deluge is comparatively best preserved. 
Here his mastery over perspective appears in unmistakable 
excellence, and two foreshortened figures show his pleasure 
in that novel art. The fury of the wind is also finely 
expressed (see woodcut). He adheres to tradition in showing 
not only the dove returning to the ark, where Noah welcomes 
it, but the raven " which returned not " feeding on one of 
the floating bodies. The Sacrifice of Noah (see woodcut) 
in another compartment is remarkable for the foreshortened 
figure of the Almighty descending with the head from 
the spectator, which was a startling innovation. It is 
believed that these frescoes were executed about 1446-8. 
He is known to have journeyed to Urbino in 1468, and 
was still living in Florence in 1469. Paolo Uccello took 
great pleasure in the delineation of armour and costume, 
and studied animals with success. His partiality for the 
representation of birds is the origin of his name. He wap 
buried in S. Maria Novella. 

The name of Delia is associated with Paolo Uccello in 
friendship, and, according to Vasari, his portrait is seen under 
the figure of Shem in the Drunkenness of Noah. He is said 
to have painted the other and weaker scenes in the series by 
Uccello. No other recorded works by him survive. He is 
known to have spent part of his life in Spain. 

Andrea dal Castagno was born 1390. The son of a peasant, 
and an orphan from tender years,* he tended the flock of a 
cousin at Castagno, where, meeting an itinerant painter, he 
began to trace rude figures on walls. He attracted the 
attention of Benedetto de' Medici, who sent him to Florence. 

* On making a return of his worldly goods in later life, he showed that 
he knew not even the maiden name of his mother. 



218 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

Of the commencement of his career as a painter little is 
known, except that he suffered great poverty. He proceeded 
evidently from the same school that produced Paolo Uccello, 
and his works display a harsh and coarse energy, in which 
neither form nor colour offer any attractions. Yet it is 
evident that he was versed in the true principles of art, as 
successfully seen in the decorations of a room at the 
Villa Pandolfini at Legnaia,* which constitute his chief 
claim to notice. These represent single figures of heroes 
and sibyls, larger than life, some remnants of which have 
been transferred to canvas, and are now in the Guarda Roba 
of the Uffizi. Andrea dal Castagno must also take his place 
as one who studied the nude, however unpleasingly he 
rendered it ; as, for example, in his fresco of the figure of 
the Baptist in 8. Croce. He is recorded as having painted 
the fallen leaders of the Albrizzi and Peruzzi conspiracy on 
the walls of the Podesta in 1435, whence he earned the 
name of Andrea degli Impiccati. An equestrian portrait of 
Niccolo di Tolentino in chiaroscuro imitation of sculpture 
in the Cathedral of Florence, is also his work. He assisted 
too in the decoration of the Portinari Chapel in S. Maria 
Nuova (Florence). This connects Andrea dal Castagno with 
an unjust accusation, repeated for centuries and only re- 
cently disproved. According to Vasari, Domenico Veneziano 
laboured simultaneously with Andrea in that same chapel, 
and by his possession of the secret of oil-painting so excited 
the jealousy of Andrea, that he waylaid and foully murdered 
him. The refutation of this story is simply supplied by the 
registers of their respective deaths, which prove that the 
victim outlived his murderer nearly four years ; and, as 
a further example of Vasari's reckless inaccuracy, it may be 
added that, firstly, far from having painted simultaneously 
in the Portinari Chapel, six years intervened between the end 
of Domenico's labours and the commencement of Andrea's ; 
and secondly, that it is very doubtful whether Domenico 
possessed the secret of oil-painting at all to which subject 
we shall return. 

Andrea died in 1457, and was buried in S. Maria dei 
Send. 

* See engravings, ' Uomini Celebri,' Andrea dal Castagno. 



Chap. I. FLORENTINE SCHOOL. 219 

Of Domenico Veneziano, hitherto so unhappily connected 
historically with Andrea dal Castagno, neither birth, birth- 
place, nor mode of education are known. It is possible that 
he belonged to a Venetian family, for a record of 1439-40* 
describes him as " Maestro Domenicho di Bartolomeo da 
Venezia," but his works belie any connection with Venetian 
art. He is first heard of at Perugia, where he appears con- 
nected with the fortunes of the Medici. He painted next in 
Florence, in the Portinari Chapel before mentioned, between 
the years 1439 and 1445, the records of which show that his 
apprentice was Pietro della Francesco,, and his labourer 
Bicci di Lorenzo. These works are no longer in existence, 
and the only surviving specimens of his art are a pleasing 
but feeble altar-piece, in tempera, in S. Lucia de' Bardi at 
Florence, and a transferred fresco, originally on a tabernacle 
on the Canto de' Carnesecchi, exposed to wind and weather 
for centuries, and now existing in detached pieces ; namely, the 
Virgin and Child, in possession of Prince Pio, at Florence, 
and two heads of saints in the National Gallery. Thus the 
little we possess by his hand gives no evidence of his having 
been an oil-painter. The picture in S. Lucia shows the 
mingled influence of Fra Angelica and of Andrea dal 
Castagno. Domenico Veneziano died in Florence, in 1461. 

Alesso Baldovinetti is one of whose art few certain specimens 
survive, and those much injured. He was born in 1422, and 
gained a name for the minuteness of his details, and for his 
attempts to improve the methods used in wall-painting. It 
is possible that these very experiments may account for the 
paucity and the state of his works. A fresco by him still 
exists in the church of the SS. Annunziata, and a much- 
injured picture of the Virgin and Child with six saints, in 
the Uffizi. These works are dry, with angular draperies, 
showing a manner related to that of the Pollaiuoli. Alesso 
Baldovinetti died in 1499. 

Masolino da Panicale, whose real name was Tommaso di 
Cristoforo Fini, is another link in the development of art. 
He was born in 1383, and is believed to have owed his in- 
struction in painting to Stamina. His name has been chiefly 
recorded as one of the painters of the Braucacci Chapel 
* See Crowe and Cavalcaselle, vol. iii. p. 315. 



220 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

in the Carmine (Florence), but modern researches have, upon 
good grounds, robbed him of this credit. On the other hand, 
he is now known to be the author of a series of frescoes, 
signed with his name, " Masolino da Florentia, pinxit." 
which have been recently freed from a coating of white- 
wash, executed for the Cardinal Branda Castiglione. These 
have come to light in the church of Castiglione di Olona, 
not far from Milan, between Sarono and Varese. They 
adorn the space surrounding the high altar, and are believed 
to have been completed in 1428. They represent the history 
of the Madonna, and in tenderness of expression and simple 
grace of lines show that affinity to his cotemporary, Fra 
Angelica, to which allusion has been made. Masolino also 
decorated the adjoining baptistery of Castiglione with the 
life of the Baptist (see woodcut). These frescoes show 
a careful study of nature, especially in the heads and 
extremities, though the type of composition is still that of 
the fourteenth century. He has, however, little regard 
for the traditional costume of Scriptural personages, and 
dresses them in caps and turbans and tight-fitting dresses 
which somewhat detract from the solemnity of character. 
Art, in his time, was truly in a transition state, and realistic 
features were beginning to be attempted which weakened 
that unity of composition which had 'been the great charac- 
teristic of Giotto and of Orcagna. Masolino died in 1430. 

It was reserved for one who is supposed to have been the 
scholar of Masolino to work out those higher -principles of 
composition, the votaries of which appear but seldom. 
Masaccio, or Tommaso da S. Giovanni, may be said to have 
grasped all those true maxims of art which his cotempo- 
raries were variously aiming at, and to have codified and 
defined them for the benefit of succeeding generations. He 
was born at Val d' Arno, between Florence and Arezzo, in 
1402, and, according to local tradition, displayed an inclina- 
tion for the arts of design from his tenderest years. His 
earliest surviving works of note are the frescoes in S. 
Clemente at Borne, executed for the Cardinal Clemente. 
They represent incidents in the life of the saint of that 
name, and of St. Catherine of Alexandria. Though they 




ST. CATHERINE ; a fresco by Masacoio, in S Clemente, Rome 



p. 201. 



Chap. I. 



MASACCIO. 



221 



have succumbed to the common lot of injury and repaint, 
they still preserve characteristics which tell a youthful hand 
of remarkable power contending with the first difficulties of 
a great undertaking. Correct drawing and perspective are 
already visible here, and a certain sense of atmosphere, as 
in the manner in which the figure of St. Catherine is seen 
detached from that of the enthroned Maxentius (see wood- 
cut). Masaccio is surmised to have returned from Home to 
Florence then only eighteen years old in 1420. In 1424, 
he was enrolled in the Florentine Guild of Painters. 
The consecration of the church of the Carmine took place in 
1422, and it is supposed that Masaccio laboured on the 
Brancacci frescoes the highest monument of his powers 
from 1423 to the date of his early death, in 1428. We have 
stated already that Masolino da Panicale is now excluded 
from all participation in this work, which is pronounced to 
be entirely due to the hand of Masaccio certain portions 
only being subsequently added by Filippino Lippi. 

Before we consider these frescoes more closely, an inspec- 
tion of the subjoined plan, showing the relative position of 
these works, may facilitate the explanation of the several 
paintings on the walls and two projecting pilasters of the 
chapel. 



Ground-plan of the Chapel. 



Pll. a. Wall A. 



3 




4 





Altar. 





9 




10 



Wall C. Pil. c. 



222 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

1. Expulsion from Paradise. 

2. The Tribute-money. 

3. Preaching of Peter (hitherto assigned to Masolino). 

4. Peter Baptizing. 

5. Healing of the Cripple at the Beautiful Gate, and Cure of Petro- 

nilla. 

6. The Fall of Adam and Eve (hitherto assigned to Masolino). 

7. Peter in Prison (Filippino Lippi). 

8. Resuscitation of the King's Son ; (a small portion, in the centre of 

the picture, by Filippino'). 

9. Peter and John Healing the Cripple. 

10. Peter and John Distributing Alms. 

11. Martyrdom of Peter (Filippino Lippf). 

12. Liberation of Peter (Filippino Lippi).* 

These were the works which were the means of intro- 
ducing a new and marked improvement in the history of 
art, and which, for a long period, even to the time of 
Raphael, formed the school of the artists of Florence. We 
observe that in this instance the aim of the artist is not so 
much to seize and represent correctly a particular event, 
nor to manifest his own feelings through the medium of the 
forms and expressions with which he has to deal ; in this 

* These works, so often referred to by the historians of art, have been 
variously described. The Tribute Money, No. 2, has been improperly 
denominated the Calling of Andrew and Peter. No. 9, called by the author 
Peter and John Healing, &c. (one of the subjects of No. 5), is more pro- 
bably intended for the Sick and Deformed Cured by the Shadow of Peter 
(Acts v. 15), here accompanied by John. No. 10 is sometimes called the 
Ananias ; a dead figure lies at the feet of the apostles. No. 8 is sometimes 
erroneously called Eutychus Restored to Life (Acts xx. 9) ; the subject 
is also incorrectly named by the author. The apocryphal incident re- 
presented is the following : Simon Magus had challenged Peter and Paul 
to restore a dead person to life ; the sorcerer first attempted this, and failed 
(the skulls and bones placed on the ground are part of the machinery 
of the incantation). The apostles raise the youth. (See the 'Aurea 
Legenda,' chap. 44, and the ' Historia Apostolica ' of Abdias, where the 
youth is merely described as " adolescens uobilis propinquus Caesaris.") The 
bearded figure lifting both hands, behind the kneeling Apostle, is probably 
intended for Simon Magus. Four of these compositions (Nos. 2, 5, 8, and 
11) are almost double subjects. In No. 2, different moments of the same 
event are represented ; No. 5 contains two subjects, as above described ; 
in a portion of No. 8 the homage or dulia to St. Peter is represented, and 
in No. 11 the subject of Peter and Paul accused before Nero of despising 
the idols (sometimes improperly called Paul before Felix) occupies nearly 
half the space : in the background Paul is also seen led to martyrdom. 

Some writers on art seem to have attributed all these frescoes in- 
discriminately to Masaccio ; others have considered the best portions to be 
his: the accuracy of German investigation has perhaps finally settled the 
distribution as above. According to this, the observations of Reynolds 
(Discourse 12) respecting Raphael's imitation of some of these figures would 
only prove that the great painter thought Filippino Lippi and Masolino 
worth borrowing from, as well as Masaccio. C. L. E. 





:no Lippi. THE EXPULSION OF ADAM AND EVE. by Masactac. 

:s in the Church of S. U. del Caicr.ine. Florence. 




ST. PETER BAP'l ; 
A fresco by r.'asiccio, in the Church o ~orence. 



Chap. I. MASACCIO. 223 

instance, for the first time, the aim is the study of form 
for itself, the study of the external conformation of man. 
With such an aim is identified a feeling which, in beauty, 
sees and preserves the expression of proportion ; and in 
repose or motion, the expression of an harmonious develop- 
ment of the powers of the human frame. In these works, 
therefore, for the first time, we find a well-grounded and 
graceful delineation of the nude, which, though still some- 
what constrained in the figures of Adam and Eve (No. 1), 
exhibits itself in successful mastery in the Youth preparing 
for baptism (No. 4) ; so well, in short, in both, that the 
first were copied by Raphael for the Loggia of the Vatican, 
while the last, according to tradition, formed an epoch 
in the history of Florentine art. The art of raising the 
figures frgm the flat surface, the modelling of the forms, 
hitherto only faintly indicated, here begins to give the effect 
of actual life. In this respect, again, these pictures exhibit 
at once a beginning and a successful progress, for in the 
Tribute Money (No. 2), many parts are hard and stiff; the 
strongest light is not placed in the centre, but at the edge 
of the figures ; while in the Eesuscitation of the Boy (No. 8), 
the figures appear in perfect reality before the spectator. 
Moreover, we find a style of drapery freed from the habitual 
type-like manner of the earlier periods, and dependent only 
on the form underneath, at the same time expressing dignity 
of movement by broad masses and grand lines. Lastly, we 
remark a peculiar style of composition, which in the Resus- 
citation of the Boy, supposed to be Masaccio's last picture, 
exhibits a powerful feeling for truth and individuality of 
character. The event itself includes few persons ; a large 
number of spectators are disposed around, who, not taking 
a very lively interest in what is passing, merely present a 
picture of earnest, serious manhood ; in each figure we read 
a worthy fulfilment of the occupations and duties of life. 
The high poetic completeness of which this circumscribed 
and seemingly subordinate aim in composition is capable, 
will be found very remarkably displayed in the works of a 
later Florentine, Domenico Ghirlandajo. 

Among the commissions recorded to have been undertaken 



224 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

by Masaccio during the progress of the Brancacci Chapel, 
was a fresco in the church of the Carmine, representing a 
procession of figures on occasion of the consecration of the 
building. Portraits of Brunelleschi, Donatella, Masolino, 
Brancacci, and other artists and patrons, are described to 
have been among them. This fresco has been long under 
whitewash. Becently, however, a portion of such a subject 
has been brought to light in the cloisters, which is pro- 
nounced to be by the hand of Masaccio. Another work on 
the screen of the nave of S. Maria Novella, long covered by a 
worthless work by Vasari, has also been disclosed. It repre- 
sents an Italian Trinity with the Virgin and St. John, and a 
male and female donor on each side. Having been sawed 
from the place where it belonged always a most perilous 
operation and moved to a place close to the entrance, it no 
longer retains even such preservation as Vasari had left. 
The heads of the donors, however, are imperishably fine. 

A mystery overhangs the end of Masaccio. He disappeared 
from Florence in 1428, leaving his last fresco in the 
Brancacci Chapel incomplete, and no clue to the manner of 
his death has been discovered. Nothing certain is known of 
any easel pictures by Masaccio. Two fine portraits in the 
Uffizi bear his name. The younger portrait is now believed 
to be the work of Filippino Lippi. 

It is not known that Masaccio had any scholars. The 
Carmelite friar, Fra Filippo Lippi, ten years his junior, has 
been surmised to have been taught by him ; but the instruc- 
tion would seem rather to have proceeded from Masaccio's 
works. Fra Filippo was born 1412, and died 1469. By two 
years of age he had lost both father and mother, and in 1420 
the name of the young boy appears enrolled in the Com- 
munity of the Carmine. The account given by Vasari of 
Fra Filippo's romantic and scandalous life receives no cor- 
roboration, but in some respects a refutation, from recent 
documentary investigation. No evidence of his stay in 
Ancona, of his capture by Barbary pirates at that place, or 
of his residence in Naples where he is stated to have landed 
on return from captivity has been found. Nor does his 
withdrawal from the Carmine convent, which he quitted in 



Chap. I. FEA FILIPPO LIPPI. 225 

1432, seem to have involved his abandonment of the frock. 
On the contrary, cotemporary documents mention him many 
years later as still a " Frate ; " and his own pictures, extend- 
ing over many years, are signed " Frater Filippus." In one of 
them, a Coronation of the Virgin in the Accademia, his own 
portrait is included, representing him with the tonsure, and 
finally, the record of his death is entered in the register of the 
Carmine convent as that of " Fr. Filippus." Nor is it pro- 
bable, whatever the manners of the time, that a monk of 
scandalous habits should have been appointed in 1452 
chaplain of a nunnery in Florence, and in 1457 rector of 
S. Quirico at Legnaia, both of which facts are now estab- 
lished. Under such circumstances we may give Fra Filippo 
the benefit of a doubt regarding the story of Lucretia Buti 
and the paternity of Filippino Lippi (believed to have been 
an adopted son), the more especially as the picture now in 
the Louvre a Nativity, in which he is asserted to have 
depicted the Virgin under the features of Lucretia Buti has 
long been considered by connoisseurs to be by a different 
hand. The circumstances also of his life seem to have been 
unpropitious to much self-indulgence ; for he writes that it 
has pleased God to leave him " the poorest friar in Flo- 
rence " the charge of six marriageable nieces, who entirely 
depend on him.* Whether the friar was a good dispenser of 
his own earnings is another question. He seems to have been 
involved in debt, and probably for that reason not famed for 
punctuality in the fulfilment of commissions. We may now 
turn to his art. 

The style of Fra Filippo is peculiarly his own, both in 
form and colouring. The type of his heads is short, with 
wide jaws, and a solemn, yet youthful expression, which is 
very pleasing. His colour is golden and broad, almost 
anticipating Titian, and his drapery finely cast and of fasci- 
natingly broken tones. His figures are less grand in concep- 
tion than those of Masaccio, and his whole treatment devoid 
of the ideal, but he compensates for this deficiency by a 
reality of human feeling which is sometimes tender and 
graceful, though as often rude, and even boisterous in expres- 
* See Gaye, 'Carteggio d' Artisti,' vol. i. p. 141. 



226 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

sion. His angels especially are like great, high-spirited 
boys. These peculiarities, which lean to the side of common 
nature, combined with a stately form of composition, render 
his style very attractive. 

Fra Filippo's most important works are the frescoes in 
the choir of the Duomo at Prato.* On the left wall he 
represented the History of St. Stephen, in several compart- 
ments, one over the other ; on the right that of St. John the 
Baptist ; and on the wall where the window is, several 
figures of Saints. The fascinating powers of the Frate are 
especially seen here in the history of the Baptist, where a 
peculiar sense of reality is combined with the utmost grace 
of lines. The birth of the Baptist with the fine figure of 
St. Elizabeth on the bed ; the farewell between the young 
boy and his parents on his departure for the desert ; and the 
dancing of Salome, with the group of two whispering women 
in the right corner, are all worthy of close attention. On 
the opposite side, the body of St. Stephen stretched on a 
bier bewailed by two women who sit right and left in 
front, and surrounded by fine male figures, portraits of the 
time (see 'woodcut), is very remarkable. 

The death of St. Bernard, also in the Cathedral at Prato, 
was executed before the frescoes just described, and may be 
called inferior to them. 

An altar-piece the Nativity, with the Virgin and St. 
Joseph adoring, with SS. George and Domenick, shepherds 
and angels was one of the chefs-d'oeuvre of the master, but 
is now much defaced. It is in the Refectory of S. Domenico 
at Prato. Another altar-picture, the Assumption of the 
Madonna, who drops her girdle for St. Thomas, is in S. 
Margherita at Prato. 

Towards the close of his life, Fra Filippo was employed at 
Spoleto, where he adorned the apsis of St. Catherine with 
frescoes from the life of the Madonna the Annunciation, 
Nativity, Death of Virgin in lower row, and Coronation 
surrounded with angels and saints above. These do eminent 

* ' Delle Pitture di Fra Filippo Lippi nel coro della Cattedrale di Prato, 
e de' loro restauri, relazione compilata dal (7. F. B. (Canonicus Baldanzi.) 
Pmto, 1835.' See 'Kunstbl.', 1836, No. 90. 



Chap. I. FLORENTINE SCHOOL. 227 

justice to the painter of the frescoes at Prato, and display- 
heads of fine study and character, and excellent drapery. Too 
much has been restored by a very indifferent hand. The Frate 
did not live to finish this work, which was completed by his 
scholar, Fra Diamante. Fra Filippo died in Spoleto, in 1469. 

His panel pictures are tolerably numerous, and when once 
his peculiar manner is known, he will rarely be mistaken. 
The large picture in the Accademia is full of his beauties and 
his defects. A smaller work is in the corridor of the Uffizi ; 
the Madonna with an elaborate head-dress of transparent ma- 
terial, with folded hands, adoring the grand, chubby Child, who 
is held up to her by two laughing boy angels. An excellent 
little picture in the gallery of the Uffizi, St. Jerome writing 
in the recess of a wall, approaches the cotemporary Flemish 
style in the mode of treating accidental accessories ; such, for 
instance, as the torn paper and the pen under the table. The 
grand picture in the Louvre of the Virgin standing and 
holding the Child, with numerous figures, was painted when 
the master was only twenty-six, by which we see how early his 
peculiar style in expression and colour was developed. He 
is seen also to advantage in the Berlin Museum, the Virgin 
adoring the Child, from the Solly collection. Two interest- 
ing lunette * pictures are in the National Gallery. 

Fra Filippo's scholars included Sandro Botticelli and 
Filippino Lippi. He had also a scholar and assistant in the 
person of Fra Diamante, who stood towards him apparently 
in the same capacity as Mariotto Albertinelli to Fra Barto- 
lommco. He completed, as said above, the frescoes at Spoleto, 
though his hand is not recognisable. It appears that Fra 

* The altar decoration was sometimes composed of a variety of subjects; 
the chief picture was often surmounted by a lunette, a smaller, some- 
times rectangular, but more frequently semicircular picture ; the flat frame 
was generally painted with arabesques and with heads or single figures ; 
lastly, the basement or step (gradino, predella) on the top of the altar was 
adorned with small pictures, generally three or five in number. Some- 
times the principal picture had doors, which could be closed upon it : 
these doors or wings were painted inside and out, and on the inside com- 
monly contained he portraits of the donors, who thus knelt on each side 
of the principal subject. The last form and treatment, less common in 
Italy, are almost universal in the early Flemish and German altar-pieces. 
A picture with one door, and consequently consisting- of two panels, is 
called a Diptych ; with two doors (or three panels), a Triptych; and witn 
many, a Polyptych. C. L. E. 

Q 2 



228 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

Diamante fell under the censure of his order for some offence. 
It is quite possible that the inaccurate Vasari may have made 
a mistake, and laid his sins on the shoulders of Fra Filippo. 

As regards two painters, both bearing the name of Pesello, 
though the younger has been distinguished as Pesettino, much 
confusion has existed, owing chiefly to the errors of Vasari. 
The researches of Messrs. Crowe and Cavalcaselle have proved 
the existence of grandfather and grandson ; the first, Giuliano 
d'Arrigo, commonly known as Pesello, born in 1367 ; the 
second, Francesco di Stefano, in 1423. The statement of 
Giuliano's having laboured conjointly with a hand fifty-six 
years younger than his own, at a time when that period of 
years embraced a most important development in art, is 
corroborated by no evidence. No certain work by the elder 
is left, but if the Adoration of the Magi, a long picture in 
the Uffizi, be by either, it may be ascribed to Giuliano. " The 
faces are red and darkly outlined, hands often badly drawn, 
but though the horses are scarcely better than those by 
Paolo Uccello, some large dogs in the left corner are drawn 
and modelled with great truth."* He is reported by Vasari 
to have excelled in the representation of animals an 
excellence which is observable in the younger Pesettino, to 
whom we may now confine our attention, though his life and 
works are also involved in some obscurity. He is supposed 
to have been the scholar of Fra Filippo Lippi, and to have 
painted the predella for one of the Frate's altar-pieces. A 
fine predella picture of the legend of St. Nicholas is in the 
Gasa Buonarroti at Florence. But the work which must 
be considered the master-piece of the painter, and which 
entitles its author to one of the highest places in the 
ranks of the fifteenth century, is the picture formerly in the 
Ottley collection, and now one of the chief treasures in the 
National Gallery. This is an Italian Trinity encircled by 
a glory of heads of seraphim and cherubim. The head of 
the First Person is without exception the most remarkable 
example of the period at which it was executed. 

Pesellino was frequently employed in decorating the 
Cassoni of this time. Two pictures formerly thus applied 
* Memorandum by Sir C. L. Eastlake, 1863, Florence. 




MADONNA AND CHILD. WITH ANGELS ; by S Botticelli, in the Gallery of 

the Dffizj, Florence. p. 229 



Chap. I. SANDRO BOTTICELLI. 229 

and well preserved, in the Palazzo Torrigiano at Florence, 
the Triumph of David, are ascribed to him. These are also 
first-rate works, combining beauty of male and female figures 
with the pomp and splendour of architecture and costume, 
and introducing a variety of animals both of African 
and European races. Many works attributed to Pesello or 
Pesellino bear only the stamp of his time, and are equally 
akin to Pollaiuolo or Benozzo Gozzoli. No signed work has 
yet been discovered. Pesellino died at an early age, in 1457. 
Sandro Filipepe, called Botticelli born 1447, died 1515 
was the scholar of Filippo Lippi, though apprenticed first to 
a goldsmith. He appeared at a time and was in a position 
to take advantage of those efforts for the development of art 
which sculptors and painters had equally exerted, but a 
strong individual character takes the lead of all other 
characteristics in his works. In vehemence and impetuosity 
of action, combined occasionally with great grandeur, he 
stands alone. He especially developed a power of move- 
ment, often finer in attempt than in performance, and a 
passionate imagination in expression which render him the 
most dramatic painter of the school. What may be called 
the Titanic force of some of his creations allies him to Luca 
Signorelli, and to Michael Angela. His circular pictures 
(tondi) of the Madonna and Child with angels, which are 
numerous, are supposed to belong to his earliest time. 
Like Fra Filippo his angels take the form of masculine, 
grand youths, though more noble in character than the 
boisterous conceptions of the Frate. In the tondo in 
the Uffizi (see woodcut) they are believed to represent 
some youthful members of the Medici family. Sandru 
Botticelli was peculiarly qualified to illustrate the mytho- 
logical and allegorical tendencies which the revival of 
classic literature developed in Italy during the fifteenth 
century. The imagination readily consents to the creations 
of .his hand in this line. His Venus, borne upon the sea 
and driven to the shore by the Winds, a vehemently inter- 
twined group of wonderful power, in the Ufiizi, is an 
example of this class. Also the Allegory of Spring in 
the Accademia. But his chef-d'oeuvre in the representation 



230 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

of Allegory as well as the choicest specimen of his passionate 
poetry is the small picture called " The Calumny of Apelles," 
after Lucan's description of a picture of that subject by 
Apelles, also in the' Uffizi (see woodcut). Few painters 
have succeeded in making every part of a work so tribu- 
tary to the leading idea. The very statues in the niches 
are enlisted in the service. Such a picture as this is a far 
juster revelation of the violence and fiery spirit predominant 
in Florence than any which the literature of the time has 
bequeathed. 

Sandra's treatment of religious subjects partakes almost 
equally of the vehemence of his character. In his Coronation 
of the Virgin, in the Accademia,* the angels dancing above 
are wild with the excitement of celestial rapture, some of 
which is communicated even to the four human Saints 
standing below. A still more poetic embodiment of angelic 
intensity of feeling is seen in the grand Coronation of the 
Virgin, in Hamilton Palace,f and in the truly exquisite 
picture of the Nativity belonging to Mr. Fuller Maitland.i 
An opposite example of the excitement of despair may be 
instanced in a Pieta in the Munich Gallery, where the Maries 
around the body of the Saviour are frantic with grief. 

Among the most important monuments of Botticelli's art 
are his frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, executed previous 
to 1484. In the attraction offered by Michael Angela's ceiling 

* See ' Galleria delle Belle Arti.' 

t Exhibited at Burlington House, 1873. 

j Exhibited at Burlington House, 1871. 

This chapel was built under the auspices of Sixtus IV., in 1473, by 
Baccio Pintelli, a Florentine architect; its length is nearly 150 feet, and 
its breadth one-third of that extent : it has two entrances, a principal one 
opposite the altar, and a small one in the corner to the right of the altar, 
leading to the Pope's apartments. The larger portion of the chapel, which 
is devoted to the church service, is divided from the rest by a balustrade. 
The principal entablature, at a considerable height from the pavement, 
forms a narrow gallery, protected by an iron railing, round three sides 
of the chapel : the end wall, where Michael Angela's Last Judgment is, 
is, of course, unbroken. Between this gallery and the springing of the 
vaulted roof are the windows, six on each side ; on the wall opposite the 
altar are two painted windows to correspond. The space under the windows 
is divided horizontally into two portions ; the lower is merely painted 
with imitations of hangings, the upper contains the subjects from the life 
of Moses and Christ. A description of these may not be out of place here. 
On the end wall, over and on each side of the altar, were three frescoes by 
Perugino, all afterwards destroyed to make room for the Last Judgment 



; H 
^ joyl IB 



M$&ai>* 



g$& M 




Chap. I. SANDRO BOTTICELLI. 231 

these grand works have been much overlooked. The history 
of Moses, given in a series of incidents in one fresco, teems 
with his exuberant power, and displays great grandeur of 
landscape (see woodcut). The two other frescoes are the 
Temptation of Christ and the Story of Korah. Sandra painted 
also twenty-eight figures of Popes between the windows. 

The master's command over portraiture was also remark- 
able, for to this category must be assigned his Adoration of 
the Magi, executed for the Medici, now in the Uffizi, in 
which the aged Cosmo kneels before the Virgin, while 
various members of the family of utmost individuality and 
dignity, the heads nobly modelled against a light ground, 
appear as spectators of the scene. 

by Michnel Ani/elo. The subject over the altar was the Assumption of the 
Virgin, in this Pope Sixtus IV. was introduced, kneeling : on the left of 
this was Moses in the Bulrushes ; on the right, Christ in the Manger ; the 
other paintings still exist, more or less well preserved. Six subjects arc 
on each of the side walls, and two on each side of the principal entrance. 
The subjects from the life of Moses on the left are all intended, like the 
first-named, to have a typical reference to the corresponding representa- 
tions on the right, from the life of Christ. The order and relation are as 
follows : 1. Moses and Zipporah on their way to Egypt, the Circumcision 
of their Son (Exod. iv. 24) [Luca Signorellf]. 1. The Baptism of Christ 
[Perugino], 2. Moses Overcoming the Egyptian, and again, Driviug away 
the Shepherds who hindered the Daughters of Jethro from Drawing Water 
(Exod. ii. 11, 17) [Sandro Botticelli]. 2 The Temptation, or Christ Over- 
coming the Power of Satan [Sandra Botticelli]. 3. Moses and the Israelites 
after the Passage of the Red Sea [Cosimo Sossellf]. 3. The Calling of 
various Apostles (Peter, Andrew, James and John) from the Lake of Gen- 
nesareth [fiomenico Ghirlandajo]. 4. Moses giving the Commandments 
from the Mount [Cosimo Rosselli}. 4. Christ Preaching on the Mount 
[Cosimo RosselK]. 5. The Punishment of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, 
who aspired, uncalled, to the priesthood (Numb. xvi. 31) [Sandro Botticelli]. 
5. The Sacrament of Holy Orders, or Christ giving the Keys to Peter 
[Perugino]. 6. Moses before his Death Giving his Last Commands to 
Joshua [Luca Signorelli]. 6. The Last Supper [Cosimo Rosselli], 7. Michael, 
Victorious over Satan, bears away the Body of Moses (Jude 9) [Cecchino 
Sah'iati]. 7. The Resurrection [Domenico Ghirlandajo]. The two last- 
named pictures on each side of the principal entrance were materially 
injured by the sinking of the architrave, and were afterwards badly 
repaired. Many of these compositions contain more than one moment of 
time, and all are remarkable for the crowds of portrait-like spectators, in 
imitation of Masaccio. The best are those by Sandro, the Moses and Zipporah 
by Signorelli, and the Holy Orders by Perugmo. Cosimo fiosselli, knowing 
the taste of the Pope, covered his paintings with gold (even the lights on 
the figures are sometimes thus heightened), and, to the dismay of the 
other painters, his Holiness expressed himself best pleased with Cosimo's 
performances. See Taja, ' Descrizione del Vaticano ;' and Plattner and 
Bunsen, ' Beschreibung der Stadt Rom.' C. L. E. 



232 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

Sandra's Madonna pictures were much multiplied, and are 
many of them botlega works, yet the type both of mother 
and child is always more or less of a grand and tragic 
kind. 

We have already shown reason for doubting the paternity 
hitherto assigned to Filippino Lippi. The adoption by the 
scholar of the master's name was too common at the time to 
afford any proof of a nearer relationship. It appears, how- 
ever, that Filippino belonged to Prato, where the relations of 
Fra Filippo resided, and it is possible that he may have been 
a member of the Frate's family. The date of his birth has 
not been ascertained, though it is believed that the year 1460, 
usually given, is too late. One of the finest works by his 
hand, the Vision of St. Bernard, in the Badia at Florence, 
known to have been commissioned of the painter in 1480, 
bears token of riper excellence than pertains to the age of 
twenty or twenty-one. The instruction of Filippino Lippi 
was assigned by Vasari to Botticelli, and a closer resem- 
blance is traced between the works of these two masters than 
between those of Filippo and Filippino. The impetuous 
character of Sandro is occasionally seen in the works of 
Filippino, but a far higher grace and standard of beauty may 
be pronounced to have been natural to the latter. These 
qualities are especially seen in the first-mentioned work in 
the Badia, which is unrivalled in the charm that dis- 
tinguishes Filippino.* The subject is the Virgin appearing 
to St. Bernard. Above the Saint's head, on a stone, is seen 
an inscription " Substine et abstine." The time is evening ; 
the landscape extremely fine against a light sky. The Saint 
is seated writing in the open air the convent behind him 
when he is surprised by the apparition of the Madonna, a 
figure of ineffable charm, with a beautiful action of the right 
hand, followed by a train of cherubs ; till, in his astonish- 
ment, the pen is about to drop from his hand. This work 
is one of the finest by the master. Nowhere has the 
realising tendency translated heavenly personages into earthly 
forms of more charming character. Other easel pictures by 
Filippino seldom do him entire justice. We must mention, 
* See Rosini, plate 59. 




ST. PAUL ADDRESSING ST. PETER IN FRTRON. 
From a fresco'^by Filippino Ijppi, in the Carmine at Florence 



p. 233. 



Chap. I. FILIPPINO LIPPI. 233 

however, a few exceptions, such as a Madonna enthroned with 
four saints, a youthful work of 1485, in the Uffizi Gallery ; 
an Adoration in the same gallery, full of new features ; and 
a picture in the Berlin Museum, the Crucified Saviour with 
the Virgin and St. Francis. These figures are of the deepest 
expression. As respects Filippino's other smaller works, we 
may mention a tabernacle at Prato, in the vicinity of S. 
Margherita, representing the Madonna and Child, with angels 
and saints on each side. The work is much injured and also 
over-painted, but the few heads still preserved are of the 
highest grace and sweetness. Two small pictures of much 
refinement by the master, Christ and the woman of Samaria, 
and the " Noli me tangere," are preserved in the Seminario 
at Venice. 

In his larger works Filippino appears as one of the greatest 
historical painters of his century. The rich ornamental 
decorations which he everywhere introduces in his archi- 
tecture and other accessories were the result of his study of 
the Eoman antiquities, which interested the painters of the 
fifteenth century more on account of their decorative 
character than on any principle of antique form. 

Among Filipirino's, best and most finished historical works 
are those in the Brancacci Chapel, in the Carmelite church at 
Florence, in which he successfully approaches the seriousness 
and genuine truth of Masaccio, although he never equals 
him in simplicity and repose. In point of beauty of con- 
ception and action the King's Son just raised from death 
is not inferior to Masaccio's figures, and in na'ive reality 
the same may be said of the sleeping guards in the subject 
of Peter Delivered from Prison. Filipino's peculiar 
aim is, however, most clearly recognised in the following 
works. Having been summoned to Rome about 1492, he 
painted the Cappella Carafa in S. Maria sopra Minerva, which, 
according to the intention of the founder, Cardinal Olivieri 
Carafa, was destined to contain the Glorification of the Ma- 
donna, and that of St. Thomas Aquinas. The latter subject 
occupies the right wall. Instead of the large symbolical 
compositions with which the fourteenth century decorated S. 
Maria Novella at Florence, we here see a consistently 



234 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

sustained human interest, after the manner of the new 
tendency. St. Thomas appears enthroned, with the four 
cardinal virtues, under a rich architecture decorated with 
cherub forms. His feet rest upon a prostrate heretic ; several 
spectators are looking down from a gallery above. The 
most remarkable figures, however, are those of the teachers of 
false doctrine, on each side in the foreground, who display 
the most varied expressions of shame, grief, and mortifica- 
tion. Among them is Sabellius in a red mantle, the grey- 
headed Arius, and two richly-clad boys. The Ecstasy of 
St. Thomas in the lunette above is of inferior value. The 
altar-piece contains an Annunciation, in which St. Thomas is 
presenting the kneeling figure of "Cardinal Carafa to the 
Virgin, who, though in prayer, is stealing a glance at the 
angel entering on the other side. A lifted curtain shows a 
shelf of books and writing materials. On the wall beside and 
above the altar is the Assumption (now greatly over-painted). 
The Disciples looking upwards from the open grave are 
in excellent action, but appear less animated with devotion 
than with astonishment at the miracle. Having returned to 
Florence, Filippino painted the histories of the Apostles John 
and Philip upon the side walls on the chapel Filippo Strozzi, 
in S. Maria Novella. These are greatly marred by injury and 
over-painting. Here he distinguishes himself as a painter 
of emotions, of dramatic action, and of real life, omitting, it 
is true, the higher ecclesiastical meaning. The Resuscitation 
of Drusiana by St. John is, however, one of his highest 
efforts.* The Apostle is pointing upwards with his right 
hand, while his left touches Drusiana, who, with the most 
marvellous expression of returning life, is raising herself 
upon the bier. The bearers are fleeing in terror, but a 
number of graceful female figures remain in trembling 
attention, their frightened children clinging to their knees. 
Scarcely less excellent is the Apostle Philip exorcising the 
Dragon. The priests of the heathen temple are advancing 
resentfully down the steps, while the Apostle, with a grand 
gesture, exorcises the monster in the foreground. On the 

* See Mrs. Jameson's ' Poetry of Sacred and Legendary Art,' vol. i. 
p. 138. C. L. E. 



Chap. I. FLORENTINE SCHOOL. 235 

right, collected round the body of the king's son, whom the 
dragon has killed, is a finely expressed group of courtiers ; on 
the left are standing other figures, shuddering at the monster, 
and holding their hands before their faces at its pestilential 
breath. The figures are executed with peculiar energy and 
ease ; the women are beautiful, the men dignified, and the 
forms throughout full of life ; only the drapery- is somewhat 
mannered and conventional. Filippino's large altar-pieces 
show his complete command over the arts of colouring and 
composition. His Adoration of the Kings in the Uffizi consists 
of no less than thirty figures, all contributing to the effect of 
the whole, and developing the several branches of progress in 
the Florentine school. His Marriage of St. Catherine, with 
four Saints, another large picture, signed, and dated 1501, is in 
the chapel of the Tolani family in S. Domenico in Bologna. 
This is in fine preservation, of admirable colour and grand 
execution. Conspicuous for beauty are the figures of six 
little angels, two-and-two on the varying heights of the 
entablature, each holding a. lighted candelabrum. The St. 
Sebastian is also noble in character. 

Filippino's small pictures are very precious in character. 
A Communion of St. Jerome in the Balbi Palace, Genoa, is 
a gem. Also a small work, with half-length figures, in the 
possession of M. lieizet, Paris. 

The National Gallery has a work of grand execution, 
though almost colourless, the Madonna and Child with SS. 
Jerome and Francis. Another, St. Francis in Ecstasy, with 
Angels, is a specimen of his minuter execution. Filippino 
died in 1505, and was buried in S. Michele Bisdomini in 
Florence. 

Another Florentine employed under Sandra Botticelli on 
the walls of the Sistine Chapel is Cosimo Bosselli, whose 
family for three generations had followed the profession of 
the arts. He was born in 1439, and became assistant to 
Neri de Bicci, a master not calculated to develop talent. 
Cosimo's earlier works incline to the manner of Fra 
Angelico, and a Last Judgment in the Berlin Museum is 
assigned to Fra Angelico and Cosimo Bosselli in common. 
Subsequently he appears to have stood in some relation to 



236 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

Benozzo Gozzoli. His best work is a large fresco* in a 
very dark chapel in S. Ambrogio, at Florence, painted in 
1456 ; it represents the removal of a miraculous sacramental 
cup from the church of S. Ambrogio, to the bishop's palace. 
Here, as already remarked in the instance of Masaccio, the 
greater part of the composition consists of mere spectators ; 
among these we find pleasing female heads, and dignified 
male figures. The costume, which is that of the time, is 
finished with remarkable precision. Among Cosimo's best 
pictures may be mentioned a Coronation of the Virgin, in S. 
Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi, at Florence. There is also an 
excellent altar-piece by him in S. Ambrogio, the Assumption 
of the Madonna, with angels and saints at her feet. A Cruci- 
fixion surrounded by saints and angels, of a noble and animated 
character, was formerly in the collection of Mr. Ottley. 
Of his frescoes in the Sistine Chapel the Sermon on the 
Mount (see woodcut) is .the most successful. The three 
others, the Passage of the Red Sea, Moses Delivering the 
Tables of the Law, and the Last Supper, are tame and 
devoid of interest. He died after 1506, the date of his will, 
which contradicts Vasari's assertion that the pursuit of 
alchemy had ruined him, for the will proves him to have 
been in good circumstances. 

Benozzo di Lese di Sandra, known as Benozzo Gozzoli, was 
born in 1424. He was a scholar of Fra Angelica, and followed 
him to Rome and Orvieto, in which latter place we have 
alluded to him as working under the Frate. Except in his 
light and cheerful colouring, he has little affinity to his 
master. Indeed, in every other respect he presents the 
greatest contrast to him, for of all the Italians he is precisely 
the painter who seems to have been first smitten with the 
beauty of the natural world and its various appearances. 
His pictures overflow with the delighted sense of this beauty ; 
he was the first to create rich landscape backgrounds, with 
cities, villas, and trees ; with rivers and richly-cultivated 
valleys ; with bold rocks, &c. He enlivens this landscape most 
agreeably with animals of all kinds, dogs, hares, deer, and 
large and small birds, which are introduced wherever there 

* Engraved in Lasinio's Collection from the old Florentine masters. 






',' 



^ - 









-k=r 
%\/ 










Chap. I. BENOZZO GOZZOLI. 237 

is room. When the incident takes place in the interior of 
cities or dwellings, he displays the richest fancy for archi- 
tectural forms, representing halls with open porticoes, elegant 
arcades, galleries, balconies, &c., all in a beautiful Florentine 
style. In the representations of the human figure, we find 
gaiety and whim, feeling and dignity, in the happiest com- 
bination ; but in this instance again, the artist, not satisfied 
with the figures necessary to the action, peoples the land- 
scape and architecture with groups, and generally surrounds 
the principal actors with a circle of spectators, among whom 
are introduced portraits of the painter's cotemporaries, to 
whom he has thus raised a memorial. In movement and 
cast of drapery, Benozzoe, figures, taken singly, are often 
very graceful, although marked by an almost feminine 
timidity of gait and gesture ; the heads are very expressive ; 
the portraits true to nature, and delicately felt. 

Among the earlier works of Benozzo may be mentioned 
the pictures of the Apostles and the Martyrs, executed after 
the year 1447, which form a portion of the glory in the 
Last Judgment, commenced by Fra Angelica in the chapel of 
S. Brizio, in the cathedral of Orvieto. -Also several paintings 
in the churches of S. Fortunate and S. Francesco* at 
Montefalco (a little town not far from Fuligno), executed 
1450, in which the resemblance to Fra Angelica is evident. 
During, or before 1479, Benozzo returned to Florence in order 
to decorate the walls of the small chapel in the Palazzo 
Medici, now Eiccardi. Here we see him first entering that 
path which led him entirely away from the forms proper to 
his master. This chapel is made the scene of the Journey of 
the Three Kings to Bethlehem, represented in a sumptuous 
progress of knights, squires, and pages, with dogs and 
hunting leopards, all seen passing through a rich country. 
The walls next the altar are peopled with quires of angels 
in a landscape, some kneeling, others plucking flowers, 
rendered with much poetry and feeling. From Florence 
Benozzo proceeded to S. Gemignano in 1463-4, where he 
completed a series of works in S. Agostino, illustrating the 
life of St. Augustin, in which his cheerful fancy is more 
* See Rumohr, ' Ital. Forschungen,' ii. p 257, &c. 



238 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

completely developed.* These works, like all others of the 
highest value in Italy, have suffered, being in part obliterated, 
in part over-painted. He was assisted in them by one 
Giusto d Andrea.^ 

The master is, however, seen to highest advantage in his 
labours in the Campo Santo at Pisa, which he undertook in 
1469, and where, with the exception of the works of Pietro di 
Puccio, he covered the north wall. These frescoes occupied 
him till 1485. They form a continuation, both in situation and 
subject, of the works of Pietro, and represent the History of 
the Old Testament from the time of Noah to the visit of the 
Queen of Sheba to Solomon, in a thronged and overflowing 
series. These have suffered greatly from damp and neglect, 
yet they still offer one of the most interesting monuments of 
art of the fifteenth century. The limits of this work do not 
permit any adequate description of subjects treated with 
such fulness of fancy and redundance of natural beauties as 
these display. Benozzo is in his element here ; sometimes, as 
in all his works, approaching the exaggerated and fantastic, 
never really abstract or grand ; but always revelling in the 
truly picturesque, whether of nature or art ; in architecture, 
flowers, fruits, and animals, with gorgeous peacocks perched 
on marble basins, and pergolas laden with grapes, and every 
form of jocund life that could be made consistent with the 
subject in hand. There are twenty-one frescoes in the 
Campo Santo by his hand.| He was assisted in them by 
Zenobio Macchiavelli, who copied his style feebly. The 
execution of this mighty work gave so much satisfaction to 
the Pisan authorities in its progress, that as early as 1478 
they presented the painter with a solid though somewhat 
novel testimony of their regard in the shape of a sarcophagus, 

* St. Augustine preaching at Rome has been engraved in chromo- 
lithograph by the Arundel Society. 

f A letter of Benozzo's dated S. Gemignano, 1467, is published in Dr. 
Gaye's collection, together with an extract from the journal of Giusto di 
Andrea, one of the painter's assistants in S. Agostino. Giusto particularizes 
all the parts done by his own haud. Three other interesting letters, 
addressed by Benozzo to Pietro de' Medici in 1459, also published by Dr. 
Gave, relate to the Adoration of the Magi, in the private chapel of the 
Medici. C. L. E. 

J C. La.xinio, 'Pitt, a fresco del Campo Santo di Pi.sa.' Ottley, pi. 4fi 
to 49. 



Chap. I. DOMENICO GHIRLANDAJO. 239 

destined for his ultimate repose within the precincts of 
the Campo Santo. An inscription recorded their gift, 
the date of which, 1478, has misled biographers as to the 
time of Benozzo's death. Records have lately come to light 
which prove that he died as late as 1496. 

Easel pictures hy Benozzo are rare, and like other great 
masters he is not seen to such advantage in this form as in his 
frescoes. A specimen is in the Louvre St. Thomas Aquinas 
in glory, seated on a prostrate heretic, between Plato and 
Aristotle. The master is also seen in the National Gallery 
a Virgin and Child, with saints and 'angels. This displays 
a certain energy and reality, though by no means an attractive 
picture, but it receives an adventitious interest from the pre- 
servation of the contract which engaged the painter to 
execute it. In his minuter works Benozzo returns more to 
the manner, though not to the spirit, of Fra Angelica. The 
" Rape of Helen," in the National Gallery, is a beautiful 
example. The illuminations also of a MS. Virgil in the 
Biblioteca Riccardiana at Florence recall the style of 
Benozzo. 

We now come to a painter whose name is one of the 
great landmarks in the history of Florentine art, and who 
carried to perfection what Masaccio had conceived and begun. 
Domenico Corradi, called Ghirlandajo was born in 1449. His 
father Tommaso Corradi di Dafo Bighordi is believed to have 
been a jeweller of repute. It is said that the garlands which 
he manufactured for the Florentine women* were so much in 

* Most of the great Florentine artists, sculptors and architects, as well 
as painters, were originally goldsmiths. The editors of the last editions 
and translations of Vasari enumerate Orgagnct, Luca delta Jiobbiti, Ghiberti, 
Urunelleschi, Verrocchio, Andrea del Surto, Cellini, and others. It has 
been remarked that the style of relief which is suitable to the precious 
metals (but which is unsuitable to marble or bronze) may have had its 
influence in forming the general taste of the Florentines in sculpture. The 
" garlands " above mentioned were probably silver ornaments (see Vasari, 
' Life of Ghirlandajo '). In a severer age these ornaments wei-e forbidden ; 
in the extracts from the ' Archivio delle Riformagioni di Firenze,' published 
by Dr. Gave, (Carteggio d'Artisti), we read (March, 1307) " Quod nulla 
mulier presumat deterre in capite coronam auream vel argenteam." A 
fashion alluded to in another prohibition of the same date explains the 
long trains of the women in the early Florentine pictures : " item quod 
nulla mulier audeat portare vestes trannantes (sic) ultro quod unnm 
brachium per terrain de retro." C. L. . 



240 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

favour, that he thence obtained the surname of Ghirlandajo, 
which descended to his son. The latter was also originally 
intended for a goldsmith, but early showed his talent for 
painting in the striking likenesses he drew of the passers- 
by, whilst yet a boy in his father's shop. His first teacher 
was Alessio Baldovinetti, a comparatively unimportant artist 
of the fifteenth century, already mentioned. The direction 
which Art had now taken was carried to a perfection of a 
peculiar kind by Domenico Ghirlandajo ; the aim of the 
artist in this instance was no longer external form for itself, 
no longer a beautiful and true imitation of the circumstances 
of nature in the abstract : it was a predilection for particular 
forms, for particular circumstances, and especially for grand 
and important relations of life; for the glory and dignity of 
his native city, which, as we have before remarked, had 
attained at that time the zenith of her greatness. The portrait, 
in the largest signification of the word, is the prominent 
characteristic in the productions of GMrlandajo. Thus, 
above all, we find the motive which in earlier masters 
appeared more the result of accidental observation- in him 
completely and consistently followed out. He introduced 
portraits of cotemporaries into his historical representations, 
thus raising to them an honourable memorial ; not, how- 
ever, introducing them as the holy personages themselves, 
as was the practice among the painters of the Netherlands, 
and in Germany. Simple and tranquil, in the costume of 
their time, these personages stand by, as spectators, or rather 
witnesses, of the holy incident represented, and frequently 
occupy the principal places in the picture. They are 
generally arranged somewhat symmetrically in detached 
groups, thus giving to the whole a peculiarly solemn effect : 
in their relation to the actual subject of the picture they 
may be compared with the chorus of the Greek tragedy. 
Ghirlandajo, again, usually places the scene of the sacred 
event in the domestic and citizen life of the time, and 
introduces, with the real costume of the spectators, the 
architecture of Florence in the richest display and in 
complete perspective, without degenerating into those 
fantastic combinations which we find in Benozzo Gozzoli. 




Freaco by D. Ghirlandajo, in the Ojnissami, Florec 



Chap. I. DOMENICO GHIRLANDAJO. 241 

The saints also retain their well-known ideal drapery, not 
without reminiscences of the style of the fourteenth century. 
A third element is moreover apparent, derived from a par- 
ticular study of antique motives of a light and animated 
kind, and especially of antique drapery : this study is to be 
traced in accessory female figures. In the execution of the 
details a certain degree of severity is still observable, espe- 
cially in the outlines ; it can scarcely, however, be called 
a defect. The forms are perfectly well imitated, and the 
peculiarities of nature successfully caught. In the technical 
management of fresco Ghirlandajo exhibits an unsurpassed 
finish. 

GJiirlandajo's powers were of slow growth. He appears to 
have passed the age of thirty-one before he undertook the 
frescoes in the Vespucci chapel in the Ognissanti at Florence, 
where the portrait of Amerigo Vespucci is reported to have 
been introduced, and which were covered with whitewash 
in 1616. Two other works by him, however, bearing date 
1480, are preserved in the same church. The subject of the 
one St. Jerome, a fresco on the left of the nave is a grand 
and severe figure seated at a desk, and surrounded with 
every imaginable object of still life, from a Florence 
flask to his cardinal's hat (see woodcut). The other work 
is a Last Supper in the Refectory, treated in the traditional 
form with Judas seated alone on the nearer side of the table. 
An effort at that variety of expression which culminated in 
Leonardo da Vinci, is here seen. But these frescoes are 
far from displaying the excellence he afterwards attained. 
Domenico is next studied in the fresco of the Sala del 
Orologio, since called the Sala degli Gigli, in the Palazzo 
Vecchio. This consists of a grand and very elaborate 
design in the renaissance or revived classic style, with the 
figure of S. Zenobio, a patron saint of Florence, enthroned, 
with two other Saints, all larger than life. In the background 
are seen the Duomo, the Campanile, and the Baptistery. 
Two lions in chiaroscuro bear the armorial standards of the 
city. Above, also in chiaroscuro, are six single figures of 
illustrious characters from Roman history, and a lunette with 
the Virgin and Child of a beauty and grace seldom seen in 



212 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

Ghirlandajo's Holy Families. The whole composition is 
strictly architectural and decorative.* This is one of the 
wall-paintings still surviving in a hall which the chief 
painters of the day, Botticelli, Filippino Lippi, and Perugino 
contributed to adorn. It was from this busy competition 
that Ghirlandajo was called by Pope Sixtus IV., to exercise 
his powers in the Sistine Chapel, where, in the subject of 
the Calling of Peter and Andrew, the master may be said, by 
the general advance of the qualities of composition and 
expression, to take precedence of his fellow-labourers on the 
same walls (see woodcut). The influence of Masaccio 
is evident in the arrangement of the figures and in the 
noble individuality of each head, many of which represent 
portraits of cotemporaries who contemplate the scene 
with solemn interest, and are introduced to give richness 
and reality to the composition, not as actors in the 
event. The Eesurrection by Ghirlandajo, which is on the 
right of the entrance, has been greatly injured and badly 
repaired. 

On the road between Rome and Florence, at S. Geniignano, 
Ghirlandajo found time to decorate the chapel of S. Fina 
with creations worthy of his hand ; but his greatest triumphs 
were reserved for his native Florence. It appears that at the 
close of 1485 he had completed the frescoes representing the 
life of St. Francis, in the Sassetti chapel in the Trinita works 
in which all his varied powers attained maturity. In the 
abundant incidents and characters which this subject afforded, 
the noblest realism combined with inimitable dignity supplies 
the place of the ideal. Ghirlandajo in fresco, as Mozart in 
music, is always within the range of human sympathies ; both 
masters elevating them to their highest exercise by means 
of exquisite feeling and profound science. Here again cotem- 
porary portraits appear: that of Lorenzo de' Medici, with 
others, in the subject of St. Francis presenting his rules to 
Pope Honorius III. : his own, in cap and mantle, looking out 
of the picture, in the Miracle of a Child of the Spini Family. 
Both these frescoes are of the utmost beauty ; and the last- 

* See ' Domenico Ghirlandajo,' by Right Hon. A. H. Layard, printed 
for the Aruniel Society. 



Chap. I. DOMEXICO GHIRLANDAJO. 243 



mentioned contains one of those groups of high-born women, 
redolent with staid modesty, in which Ghirlandajo stands 
unrivalled. But the fresco of the death of the Saint is the 
most remarkable, and one of the few really historical works by 
Ghirlandajo. The simple, solemn arrangement of the whole ; 
the artless, unaffected dignity of the single figures ; the noble, 
manly expression of sorrowing sympathy ; the perfection of 
the execution combine to place this picture among the most 
exquisite examples of Italian Art.* Our woodcut tells the talc- 
better than any description. The writer mentioned in our 
note,! dwelling on the intense grief of the brethren environ- 
ing the body, and on the more sober sorrow of those farther 
off, calls attention to the^satire conveyed in the figures of the 
Bishop and his attendants, who are cold and indifferent to 
what is passing while they mechanically repeat the prayers 
for the occasion. For the rest, the paintings in this chapel 
are not all of equal merit ; in those on the left wall par- 
ticularly the assistance of scholars is very evident.^ Ghir- 
landajo had scarce completed this great undertaking when 
he was engaged to cover the choir of S. Maria Novella with 
a new series of frescoes in place of the damaged works, already 
mentioned, by Orcagna. The very wealth and perfection 
with which he endowed these since-neglected walls forbid all 
attempt at description. The chief subjects are from the life 
of the Madonna and that of the Baptist, rendered in every 
form of beauty, dignity, and expression. The most interesting 
of the series are those in the lower courses nearest the 
eye. Our woodcut gives an idea of the graceful nature 
of the groups and of the grandeur of the background 
which invests the Eirth of the Virgin. The work was 

* Ghirlandajo' & paintings in S. Trinita and S. 'Maria Novella are en- 
graved in Lasinio's collection of the works of early Florentine masters. 

f See ' Domenico Ghirlandajo,' by Right Hon. A. H. Layard. 

+ While justly admiring the simplicity and nature displayed in the Death 
of St. Francis, the work above quoted (see woodcut) points out the fact 
that the composition is strictly imitated from one of the same subject by 
Giotto. This may be seen in the Bardi chapel of S. Croce, recently freed 
from its whitewash. Not only the general arrangement is the same, but 
the groups, right and left, are literally repeated, though with greater life 
and truth. This adoption of a successful type is as old as the Greek 
sculptors, and only reflects honour on the artist who could openly clothe :i 
great forerunner's ideas in the garb of a more advanced art. 

R 2 



244 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 



executed for the Tornabuoni and Tornaquinci families, and 
uo less than twenty-one portraits, including that of the 
beautiful Ginevra de' Benci, with several from the Medici, 
Sassetti, and other families, are introduced. The work was 
completed in 1490. The peculiar beauties of this painter's 
style are not so 'much developed in his easel pictures; these 
cannot, in general, lay claim to equal merit with his frescoes : 
he disturbs us also by a certain gaudiness, and especially by 
an inharmonious red. Among them, however, we find some 
very distinguished works, especially at Florence. In the 
church of the Innocenti (belonging to the Foundling Hospital) 
is a beautiful Adoration of the Kings, dated 1488, in which 
appear some excellent heads from nature, especially among the 
accessory figures. Another Adoration (a circular picture) 
of the preceding year is in the gallery of the Uf&zi. Two 
admirable pictures are in the Florentine Academy, both 
remarkable for very sweet and graceful Madonnas, which do 
not frequently occur in the works of Ghirlandajo. The one, 
of the year 1485, is the well-known Adoration of the 
Shepherds, where an antique sarcophagus serves as a crib. 
An excellent Visitation, 1491, is now in the Louvre. A 
Madonna, also, in a nimbus, with four Saints, and a kneeling 
St. Jerome of especial grandeur of form and expression, is in 
the Berlin Museum. 

Ghirlandajo' s brothers Davide and Benedetto imitated his 
manner, and assisted him in his works, as did his brother-in- 
law Bastiano Mainardi ; who, if not equal to Domenico in the 
management of colour and in modelling, is peculiarly happy 
in his delicate conception of character, as seen in the figures 
of various Saints ; his best works are in the chapel of the 
Beata Fine,* in the parish church of the town of San 
Gemignano, his birthplace. The Ghirlandajo family are said 
to have laboured here also. An Annunciation in the baptistery 
of the same church is by Mainardi alone. The death of 
Domenico Ghirlandajo is said to have occurred in 1498, when 
his brother Benedetto entered on the guardianship of his 
family, but it may have taken place earlier. 

Francesco Granacci, also one of the scholars of Domenico, 
* Rumohr, ' Ital. Forsch.' ji. 286. 



Chap. I. THE POLLAIUOL1. 245 

unites with his master's style a lighter grace, without, how- 
ever, attaining the same life and energy. There are good 
works by him in the Pitti and Uffizi Galleries at Florence ; 
several also in the Accademia, where a series of small 
pictures, representing the Martyrdom of S. Apollonia, may 
be particularly noted. At a later time Granacci inclined 
more to the manner of his great cotemporary, Michael 
Angela Buonarroti, who, as well as Domenico's son, Eidolfo 
Ghirlandajo, belongs to the succeeding period. Pictures by 
various masters of this school are in the transept of S. 
Spirito at Florence. 

To return to the ranks of the great religious and historical 
masters of the Florentine school. 

We have seen that the representation of the nude had been 
more particularly attempted by Paolo Uccello and Andrea 
dal Castagno ; and there is no doubt that the development 
of this power was materially assisted by the practice of 
the plastic arts which in Italy considerably preceded that of 
painting. This was a time when individuals dealt often in 
a plurality of arts that of the goldsmith, the bronze-caster, 
the sculptor, and the painter being in many instances carried 
on together. It may be doubted, considering the length of art 
and brevity of life, whether this practice was beneficial ; but 
there is no question that the accuracy of modelling required 
in plastic workmanship acted favourably on certain painters. 
The brothers Pollaiuoli Antonio and Pietro were artists of 
this multiform class, born severally in 1433 and 1448. 
Their father was a goldsmith, and Antonio was apprenticed 
to him, and became eminent in an art which, in a limirious 
and wealthy age, included every form of costly ornament, 
equally in relief and in the round, in gold, silver, and 
bronze, from a lady's jewel to the design for a crucifix or an 
altar chasse. Antonio is also recorded to have rivalled 
Maso Finiguerra in niello-work. In these forms Antonio 
soon showed great mastery over design, with a deeper study 
of anatomy than had hitherto characterised this class of 
workmanship ; the brothers being recorded by Vasari as the 
first artists who practised dissection, while their knowledge 
of the recently-discovered examples of antique sculpture is 



246 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

also evident. In the form of pictorial art they display 
accordingly these combined influences. This is seen in the 
small pictures in the Uffizi : Hercules strangling Antaeus, 
and overcoming the Hydra, in which a severe simplicity and 
the angularity incidental to a worker in metals are obvious. 
In considering these pictorial efforts, it is difficult to dis- 
tinguish one brother from the other. Pietro is known to have 
been the scholar of Andrea dal Castagno ; Antonio would seem 
(in painting) to have been self-taught. Their style partakes 
of the nature of plastic imitation, abounding in ornament 
and architecture, with much gaiety of colour. The figure 
of Prudence, originally one of the Virtues painted for the 
Mercatanzia (at Florence), and the three male Saints executed 
for S. Miniato al Monte, both pictures now in the Uffizi, are 
illustrations of this class. An extreme example of the influence 
of the jeweller's art is the Annunciation at Berlin, where 
an exuberance of ornament produces the effect of a piece of 
tarsia. But the chief distinction of the Pollaiuoli is that 
they first departed from the use of tempera, the vehicle of 
all the painters we have hitherto described, and first availed 
themselves of the powers of oil mediums. The chef-d'oeuvre 
of the brothers, and one generally attributed to Antonio, is 
the large Martyrdom of St. Sebastian in the National Gallery,* 
where the fine treatment of the archers and the minute 
rendering of the background seem to unite the Italian and 
Flemish manner (see woodcut). This picture has been 
considered one of the first in Italy painted in oil ; but, 
however removed from tempera, the real character of the 
vehicle used in this altar-piece is still uncertain, being, 
at all events, not that of the Van Eycks. Pietro Pollaiuolo 
has left his only signed work, a Coronation of the Virgin, 
in the Pieve of S. Gemignano. Pietro died before 1496 ; 
Antonio in 1498. 

The course of Andrea Verocchio, born in Florence, 1432, 
resembles that of the Pollaiuoli. According to Vasari he 
was "a goldsmith, a teacher of perspective, a sculptor, a 
carver, a painter, and a musician ;" a catalogue of gifts which 

* Engraved in ' Etruria Pittrice," pi. 24, and in Rosini's Storia della 
"ittura^Italiana,' vol. iii. pi. 53. 




S r. SEBASTIAN ; by Amoir.o Pollaiuoli, National Gallery. 




BAPTISM OP CHEIST ; by AnOrea del Verocchio, in the Accademia, Florence. 



^ 1>^--"""^ ; 



rKtn T&^J---?J&g& 

''-tfVi-/ r?V rL^fe^ 

TifflraH 



Uon& a 




Chap. I. LUCA SIGNOKELLI. 247 

link him with his great scholar. His Colleoni monument 
at Venice places him on a higher pedestal than the 
PollaiuoU attained, showing a combination of science and art 
worthy to be carried forward by Leonardo da Vinci. The 
drawings attributed to Verocchio are difficult to distinguish 
from those of Lorenzo di Credi and Leonardo da Vinci, but the 
style, at all events, was original in Verocchio. As a painter, 
the same difficulty occurs to define what was really by his 
hand. The only certain example is the well-known Baptism 
in the Accademia at Florence (see woodcxtt), the foremost angel 
in which is recorded as the work of Leonardo da Vinci. 
Various works in galleries at Munich, Berlin, Frankfort, 
and in the National Gallery, as well as in private collec- 
tions, are alternately ascribed to Ghirlandajo, Pesello. 
the PollaiuoU. Lorenzo di Credi, Verocchio, Pietro della 
Francesca, and to Leonardo da Vinci ; thus showing an affinity 
of manner both in individuals and schools which points to 
the common conditions of the period.* Verocchio died 
in 1488. 

The improvement in modelling and drawing contingent on 
the study of anatomy and practice of sculpture brings us to 
another great name in the Tuscan school, associated with 
a daring vigour, and sometimes an ungenial coarseness, over- 
stepping the bounds of nature. Luca Signorelli, otherwise 
called Luca da Cortona, whose proper name is Luca dEgidio 
di Ventura, was born at Cortona, it is believed in 1441, and 
was apprenticed to Pietro della Francesca. Little is known 
of his early life. He is recorded to have painted in Arezzo 
in 1472, and in Citta di Castello in 1474. Nothing, how- 
ever, that can be genuinely ascribed to him exists now in 
Arezzo. He played later an important part in the Sistine 
Chapel, though represented only by one wall-painting the 
History of Moses the sober dignity of which stops short 
equally of his power of action and his exaggeration of atti- 
tude (see woodcut). In 1484, he was in Cortona, where 
he made his home, and which still retains a few of his 

* The picture in the National Gallery, No. 296, the Virgin and Child 
with two Angels, with exquisite jewellery, is an example. It passes under 
the name of Ghirlan-lajo, but is believed to be by Antonio Pollaiuolo. 



248 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 



works in churches and in private houses. A Deposition 
from the Cross and a Last Supper are in the Cathedral. 
These are both fine examples, especially the Deposition, 
" which has a grace and grand style of colouring, anticipating 
Sebastian del Piombo in this respect, as he also some- 
times anticipated Michael Angelo in energy and grandeur of 
composition."* In the Confraternita of S. Niccolo there is 
an altar-piece with an Entombment on one side, and the Virgin 
and Child and Saints on the other. A fresco by Luca in the 
same building has recently been uncovered from whitewash. 
In the church of S. Domenico, in Citta di Castello, is a fine 
Martyrdom of St. Sebastian, with numerous figures. 

From Cortona Luca Signorelli doubtless supplied several 
of the neighbouring cities with his works, which are found 
in Citta di Castello, Urbino, Borgo S. Sepolcro, and Perugia. 
The altar-piece also of the Cappella S. Onofrio, in the cathe- 
dral of Perugia (painted 1 484), a Madonna enthroned, with 
Saints, combines in some portions a very harsh naturalism 
(for instance, in S. Onofrio himself) with a noble sentiment. 
As regards the whole execution, however, and the glow of 
colour, it may be considered a clief-d'ceuvre of the master. 
He also laboured in Siena, where he executed the grand 
series of frescoes illustrating the life of St. Benedict, in the 
convent of Monte Uliveto, which are full of his energy and 
fancy, though now too much injured to be done justice to. 
In Siena he further decorated the Petrucci Palace with 
frescoes of profane subjects, both mythological and his- 
torical.f 

In Volterra fine altar-pieces by his hand still remain. 
The one in S. Francesco, the Virgin and Child enthroned, 
with three Saints on each side, and SS. Augustin and Jerome 
seated below, is signed and dated 1491. An Annunciation 
in the Duomo is in better preservation and finely coloured. 
The Duomo and walls of the " Sacra Casa " at Loretto were 
decorated with frescoes by the master, representing Prophets 

* Memorandum by Sir C. L. Eastlake, Cortona, 1856. 

t Three of these a scene with Cupid, Penelope at her Loom, and 
Coriolanus, transferred to canvas, and much injured are in Mr. Barker's 
possession. 



Chap. I. LUCA S1GNORELLI. 249 

and Evangelists, with angels playing on musical instruments, 
and eight scriptural subjects below. All these are much 
ruined, and the lower works almost effaced. 

But his chief fame rests on his frescoes at Orvieto, where, 
by a strange destiny, he was appointed to continue the 
labours of a painter the furthest possible opposed to himself 
in manner and character. The authorities of the cathedral 
of Orvieto, after waiting nine years for Perugino, at length 
engaged Luca Signorelli to carry on the fresco of the Last 
Judgment in the chapel of S. Brizio, which Fra Angelica had 
commenced.* The pious Frate had executed the solemn and 
quiescent part of the composition namely, the figure of our 
Lord, and the attendant hierarchy of Saints and angels and 
Benozzo Gozzoli had painted the apostles and martyrs. It 
was now reserved for the fiery Luca to add the great dramatic 
scene below, including the history of Antichrist.f lie there- 
fore completed the work, not, it is true, in the sense in which 
Fiesole had begun it, but with a grandeur which, excepting 
Leonardo da Vinci, no master partaking of the realistic ten- 
dency of the fifteenth century has surpassed. The chief 
works are four large representations on the two side walls : 

* Engravings in Delia Valle, Storia del Duomo d'Orvieto, Roma, 1791. 
Ottley, pi. 52 to 54. 

t The usual Biblical and theological subjects which appear to have 
been authorized during the middle ages were adopted by the great 
painters, with no other change than that of superior treatment. These 
illustrations existed originally in illuminated MSS, ; and when wood- 
engraving was invented, the same subjects, and sometimes precisely the 
same designs were repeated. The wild mystery called the History of 
Antichrist may perhaps be less early, or, being probably of Byzantine origin, 
may have been less known among the Italian and German painters than 
the usual Scriptural and legendary subjects. The block-book, ' Der Ent- 
krist,' printed about 1470, was not however the first that added this series 
of representations to those in general use, since a similar work, the ' Historia 
Sancti Johanois Evangelists, ejusque visiones Apocalypticse,' appeared more 
than twenty years earlier. Lu::a Signorelli appears to have adopted his 
general inventions at Orvieto (the frescoes were begun in 1499) from these 
or similar sources. A sufficient proof may be found in the fact that the 
remarkable fable of the beheading of Elijah and Enoch in both the illus- 
trations alluded to (apparently suggested by a passage in Ihe Apocalypse, 
xj. 7) also occurs in Signorellt's principal fresco, and this is but one among 
many points of resemblance. The German author, or artist, constantly 
refers to a ' Compendium Theologiae ' ("davon stat auch geschrieben in 
dem Cuch Compendio Theologie "), a book or MS. probably in the hands 
of most monks of the fifteenth century. See also the rubric ' De Adventu 
Domini,' in the Aurea Legenda. C. L. E. 



250 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 



here the history of Antichrist is depicted with figures full 
of character, also the Eesurrection, Hell, and Paradise, com- 
positions all replete with meaning, action, and expression, 
consisting chiefly of naked figures. A severe but perfect and 
noble drawing of the nude is observable in these works ; 
and a number of positions in the figures, never attempted in 
art before, are introduced with careful study and success. 
With the highest development also of plastic power, the 
anxious striving for mere anatomical correctness is no longer 
apparent, but gives place to a peculiar grandeur and eleva- 
tion stamped alike on scenes of tranquillity and beatitude, 
und on representations of vehement and fantastic action. 
We are in every way reminded of the style of Michael Angela, 
of whom Luca was the immediate predecessor, if not the 
cotemporary. Here is the same subordination of the merely 
accidental to the living majesty of the purely human 
form, only, it is true, not conceived with Michael Angela's 
almost superhuman grandeur. In drapery also Luca exhibits 
elevated feeling, and in his single figures a happy imitation 
of the antique. The lower part of the walls is occupied 
with decorative subjects in chiaroscuro, with circular pictures 
of those poets who have described the Lower Eegions, 
such as Hesiod and Virgil (in reference to the Sixth 
Book of the JEneid)> Claudius (in reference to the Eape of 
Proserpine), and Dante ; all surrounded with numerous smaller 
representations of an allegorical and mythical nature, which 
with the freedom characteristic of the period are mixed up 
unreservedly with the chief subjects. 

Luca Signorelli thus inaugurated a new phase in the science 
which Paolo Uccello had practised, and led the way to the 
more perfect daring of Michael Angela. He may be con- 
sidered a painter strictly of the nude, always powerful in 
anatomy and action, square and unselect in form, and aca- 
demical in character. It was* natural that a painter of this 
class should find congenial subjects in the ancient literature 
then so ardently studied in Florence, and which, as we 
have seen, he applied in the Petrucci Palace at Siena. A 
picture recently discovered, belonging to the Marchese Corsi, 
signed with his name, representing the School of Pan (gee 




::om Luca Signorelli's fresco of HELL, in tlie Duomo, Otvieto 

p. 35?. 




THE " I irt of a fresco by Luc^ 

Si^ooreUi in th. Duomo. Oi-vieto. 




I 

X J 

. 

~i^3- 



Chap. I. MINIATURE PAINTERS. 251 

woodcut), shows how ardently he availed himself of the 
liberty which such subjects gave for. the representation 
of the nude. The allegorical part of the picture is un- 
intelligible. 

Luca Signorelli is, upon the whole, rarely found in galleries 
or collections north of the Alps. In the gallery of the 
Berlin Museum are two excellent wings of an altar-piece, 
with figures of different Saints. Here Luca is seen in the 
strong contrasts observable in his art in the caricatured 
head of the St. Jerome, and in the fine expression in the 
manner of the Umbrian School of the Magdalen. 

In addition to his larger Michael- Angelesque peculiarities 
Luca may be known by the squareness of his forms in joints 
and extremities, and also by the frequent introduction of 
a brightly-coloured Roman scarf. 

The master lived until 1524, but the precise date of his 
death is uncertain. Some of his works are painted in oil. 

The last great period of Italian miniature-painting is con- 
nected with the school of the Ghirlandaj. It represented no 
longer that feeling of devotion which exacted the utmost splen- 
dour in the decoration of the Holy Scriptures, but rather a 
habit of sumptuous luxury, and a desire for the artistic 
enhancement of every object 6f daily life. In the gorgeous 
border decorations, and in the architecture of the backgrounds, 
now occur little genii with garlands of flowers, and figures of 
the gods, &c., in the most gorgeous style of antique ornament. 
Besides the family of the Medici, and the numerous eccle- 
siastical bodies, it was Mathias Corvinus, King of Hungary, 
who principally patronised the Florentine miniature-painters. 

Of the works of one of the most renowned of this class, the 
Abbot of S. Clemente, Don Bartolommco della Gatta (died 
1490), no authentic specimen has been preserved. The best 
among the works still existing are attributable to one Glierardo 
(if Florence, who had been originally appointed by Lorenzo the 
Magnificent to decorate the cathedral with mosaics, and, for 
that purpose, had been brought into connection with Domenico 
Ghirlandajo. His miniatures combine the style of that master, 
with an incredible splendour and delicacy of execution, 
which, in the Bible of Mathias Corvinus (about 1490), now in 



252 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV 



the Library of the Vatican, seems to have reached the utmost 
possible perfection. Various books illuminated by Gherardo 
are said to be in the archives of the parish hospital of St. 
Gilio, in Florence ; a missal of 1494 is in the Laurentian 
Library ; an ilhuninated missal, also executed for the King 
of Hungary by another Florentine, Attavante by name, is in 
the library of the Dukes of Burgundy at Brussels ; a breviary 
belonging to the Bishop of Graun is in the Royal Library 
at Paris. These works are quite in the style of the 
GJiirlandaj, and are executed in the highest decorative taste.* 
The Urbino Bible, also in the Vatican, 1 478, is obviously by 
some Florentine hand. In the Laurentian Library at 
Florence, there are still several manuscripts of classic 
authors, said to have been executed by order of Lorenzo the 
Magnificent, containing but few miniatures, properly speak- 
ing, but on the other hand a mass of beautiful and delicate 
decorations. 



CHAPTER II. 

SCHOOLS OF UMBRIA, AND MASTERS OF A SIMILAR STYLE. 

IT was quite natural that the efforts at direct imitation which 
characterised so many important schools, and which aimed 
at mere truth and beauty of external form rather than at any 
spiritual depth of meaning, should call forth a decided mani- 
festation of an opposite kind. This contrariety already ex- 
isted in Florentine Art in the first half of the fifteenth 
century, when Fra Giovanni da Fiesole whom we have 
placed among the artists of the preceding period, but who 
flourished at this time appeared as a marked exception to 
the general tendency of the Florentine artists. It took place 
to a still greater extent in the latter part of this century in 

* See, in the German translation of Vasari, vol. ii. part ii. p. 186, &c., 
the dissertation of the Editor; also p. 181, &c., and the notes in vol. ii. 
part i. p. 330. Also Waagen, ' Kunstw. und Kunstl. in Paris,' p. 365, &<. 
D'Agincourt, ' Peintxire,' plate 76. 



Chap. II. UM BRIAN SCHOOLS. 253 



the schools of Umbria, which must be considered to include 
those of Urbino, Perugia, and the March of Ancoiia. 

The external habits and circumstances of life in this 
retired valley of the Upper Tiber tended to give a spiritual 
direction to Art. This region had distinguished itself in the 
middle ages above all other parts of Italy, as the peculiar seat 
of religious enthusiasm. Here were found the miraculous 
pictures ; here were born and nurtured enthusiasts like 
St. Francis ; while Assisi, with its Basilica, founded by this 
Saint, naturally calculated as it was to foster such feelings, 
was the centre round which the other townships ranged 
themselves as tributaries. Art followed the current of life 
here, as it did in the commercial cities of Florence and 
Venice ; as it did also in Padua, where the study of classic lore 
predominated. Purity of soul, fervent unearthly longings, 
and an abandonment of the whole being to a pleasing and 
enthusiastic tenderness these are the prevailing character- 
istics of the school to which we now turn our attention. The 
elevation and character of this school is therefore not so 
much owing to any decided and formal principle as to a 
particular mode of thought ; and where this is first seen, 
there, whatever may have been the education of the individual 
artist, we recognise the commencement of the school of 
Umbria. Thus it was that this tendency of thought, 
extending by degrees to external forms, developed that 
idealising habit which naturally accompanies an exclusive 
attention to the expression of spiritual and devotional senti- 
ment. To this may be attributed the comparatively early 
decline of the school, which, after earning for itself the 
eternal glory of having contributed to form Raphaels first, 
and in many respects permanent characteristics, sunk rapidly 
into the lowest feebleness and mannerism. 

The immediate elements of this style appear to have 
been blended from various sources. Besides the universal 
influence of Giotto, from which no portion of central Italy 
was excluded besides the painters of the March of 
Ancona and of the district of Urbino,* there were strong 

* See Passavant's ' Rafael,' etc., vol. i. p. 435 a work which may be 



254 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 



Florentine influences imported by Patio Uccello, Benozzo 
Gozzoli, and Pietro della Francesca, Luca Signorelli also 
painted in Urbino after 1484. In considering, however, the 
earliest specimens of the Umbrian mode of thought, the 
influence of the school of Siena is undeniable derived in 
some measure from the labours of Taddeo di Bartolo in 
Perugia (see page 174). We have remarked that at Assisi 
different works, or remains of works, are still preserved, 
which show a decided aflinity to the style and manner of this 
painter. The frescoes in the little church of S. Caterina 
(or S. Antonio di Via Superba) are of the number. The 
exterior of this building was embellished by Martinellus in 
1422, the interior by Matteo da Gualdo and Pietro Antonio da 
Fuligno ; the remains of the paintings of Martinellus, though 
unimportant as works of art, are decidedly Sienese in charac- 
ter ; those of Pietro Antonio, on the side walls of the church, 
are more interesting, and have a beautiful mildness of ex- 
pression.* A fresco next the door shows also a later hand, 
of the time of Pinturicchio. A large window in the choir 
of S. Domenico at Perugia, containing a number of figures 
of Saints in separate compartments, gives us no trace of any 
particular school. It is supposed to have been executed, 
1411, by Fra Bartolommeo da Perugia. 

But the great Umbrian master whom we must here con- 
sider is one who especially derived much of his development 
from the Florentine school, and powerfully affected it in 
return. The great laws of composition bequeathed by Giotto 
the plastic element introduced by the renaissance sculptors 
the science of linear perspective, which owed its first 
impulse to Paolo Uccello the aerial perspective illustrated 
by Masaccio the architecture of Brunelleschi the changes 



accepted as the chief authority for the history of the Umbrian school. See 
also the Essays by Gaye, in the Kunstbl., 1837, No. 83, etc. 

* Compare Rumohr, ' Ital. Forsch.' ii. 312, etc., where, however, the 
little church is not called by the name it generally bears in Assisi. In 
other buildings in the same place we find paintings in the style of the 
Sienese masters, particularly of Tuddno di Bartolo ; in the Confraternita of 
St. Francis, for example, where, in a niche on the outside, St. Francis's 
Miracle of the Roses, and other subjects, are represented in a uniform 
green colour 



Chap. II. PIETRO DELLA FRANCESCA. 255 



in the nature and application of technical processes begun 
by Pesello and Baldovinetti, and extended by the Pollaiuoli 
all these influences told upon a master as original as any 
just mentioned, who nevertheless strictly belongs to the 
category of the Umbrian school. 

Pietro di Benedetto dei Franceschi, commonly called Pietro 
della Francesco,, was born at Borgo S. Sepolcro, probably 
between 1415-20. His earliest known instructor was, as 
already stated, Domenico Veneziano, with whom he doubtless 
came into contact during that master's residence at Perugia, 
and under whom he served in the frescoes of the Portinari 
Chapel. Surrounded by the naturalism which then asserted 
itself among the Florentine painters, his powerful mind gave 
it a truer, if not a higher character. The knowledge of 
perspective obtained, perhaps empirically, by Paolo Uccello 
was reduced by Pietro della Francesca to rules which have 
hardly admitted of subsequent improvement.* 

The laws of aerial perspective, of the harmony of colours, 
the proportions of light and shade, and the position of 
objects in space, were equally developed by one whose feel- 
ing for precise calculation went pari passu with that of 
pictorial representation. In this combination of science and 
art he was strictly the precursor of Leonardo da Vinci, and it 
is further known that Fra Luigi Paccioli, a celebrated mathe- 
matician, and an intimate friend of Pietro della Francesca, 
was in later years in constant communication with Leonardo 
in Milan. It is also evident that the more or less experi- 
mental efforts in oil-painting then prevailing, and afterwards 
carried to perfection by Leonardo da Vinci, derived their 
intermediate improvement from the hand of Pietro. We thus 
obtain the view of a new and most original mind, hitherto 
not sufficiently acknowledged. For proofs of his knowledge 
of perspective and general grandeur of conception, the reader 

* The late Herr Harzen discovered in the Ambrogian Library at Milan 
a treatise on perspective by the master. It had lain unacknowledged 
under the misnomer of ' Pietro, pittore di Burges,' doubtless a misreading 
for ' Pietro di Burgo ' (S. Sepolcro), his now well-known signature. 
Sketches of edifices by Pietro della Francesco, have been assigned to 
Bramante, and the style and proportion of his architecture, as well as the 
taste of its ornaments, are at least equal to those of Doincuico Ghirlcmditjo. 



256 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

can refer at once to a valuable specimen of this rare painter, 
the Baptism of our Lord, in the National Gallery. Here the 
figure of our Lord, with the finely-foreshortened feet, the 
grand bearing of the three angels, traditionally present, the 
careful anatomy of a figure in the background, stripping 
himself for the rite, the winding of the stream, the render- 
ing of its argillaceous bed, and the correct perspective of 
the reflections, all show the strong realism combined with 
the accurate knowledge of a powerfully subjective mind. 
The picture has been too much injured to retain more than 
the preparation of the colours. 

The type of female heads peculiar to this master does not, 
however, appear in this work, though slightly in the angels ; 
namely, a class of feature which, in its extreme character, 
partakes of the African ; with broad face, wide nostrils, meet- 
ing eyebrows, and thick lips. Seen, however, in a modified 
form, as in his Madonnas, with hair concealed and finely- 
draped head, there is a certain grandeur and solemnity in 
this type. Also, however lacking in conventional beauty of 
face, his Saints and angels command admiration by singular 
dignity and appropriateness of character. 

Little certain is known of the master's life. According to 
Vasari, Domenico Venezianoand. PietrodellaFrancescalsibouieA 
together in the Sacristy of the Santa Casa at Loretto, though 
the only works which now adorn the walls are those of Luca 
Signorelli, Pietro's pupil. The same authority states that he 
was called to Rome in the time of Nicholas V., and painted 
two frescoes in the Vatican, afterwards destroyed to make 
room for Rapliael* At all events it is certain that he was 
engaged by Sigismund Malatesta to adorn the newly-erected 
church of S. Francesco at Eimini, in 1451. Here, in the 
Cappella delle Reliquie, he left a remarkable fresco, now, of 
course, partially effaced. This represents Malatesta himself 
kneeling before S. Sigismondo ; two dogs, black and white, 
accompany their master. Above is a large medallion, con- 

* See surmise that Pietro della Francesco's Vision of Constantine, one of 
the frescoes thus destroyed, suggested the remarkable effect of light in 
Raphaefs Deliverance of St. Peter, which was executed in its place. 
' Literature of the Fine Arts' Life of Raphael, by Sir C. L. Eastlake, 2nd 
edition, p. 196. 



Chap. II. PIETRO DELLA FRANCESCA. 257 

taining a view of the Castle of Rimini, with an inscription 
and the date 1446 (perhaps the date of its erection). The 
portrait of Malatesta has great simplicity and air of truth ; 
the hands are fine, and the proportion of the figures to the 
architecture, which is most elegant in design, are character- 
istic of the master. On the lower border of a painted frame- 
work in purest classic style is the inscription, " Pietri de 
Burgo opus, 1451." 

The frescoes of the History of the Cross, in S. Francesco, 
at Arezzo,* gave occasion for the entire display of all the 
qualities which have been mentioned as forming his style. 
Though much injured they have happily not suffered restora- 
tion. Our space does not admit description of the various 
episodes of this quaint legend. The Vision of Constantine 
may be singled out for a power of foreshortening in the 
(much injured) angel, and for the eftect of light.f The 
Virgin in the Annunciation, a pendant to the last, is of 
grand character. In the Duomo at Arezzo, a single figure 
of the Magdalen standing, in a painted niche on the wall 
near the door of the Sacristy, is also worthy of his hand. 
Pietro della Francesco, is seen more or less with the same 
characteristics in his altar-piece in the chapel of the Hospital 
of the Misericordia at Borgo S. Sepolcro the Flagellation 
with three fine portrait figures divided from the subject by 
architecture ; and in other fine works at Urbino. But 
another phase of the master must be cited, seen in a small 
dyptich in the Uffizi. This represents the two portraits of 
Federigo of Urbino, and Battista Sforza, seen in profile and 
executed with the utmost precision of drawing and minute- 
ness and softness of method. On the obverse is a representa- 
tion of each personage, seated in a triumphal car, with 
various allegorical figures and allusions which now defy 
explanation (see woodcut). These works are landmarks 
in the progress of art, which here unites itself with the 
minute reality of Antonello da Messina, and through him 



* See note. to Agnolo Gaddi, p. 140. 

f A preparatory drawing of this subject, once in the Lawrence collection, 
was mistaken for the hand of Corrcggio. 



258 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

with the equally minute but less poetically conceived produc- 
tions of the Van Eycks. 

Pietro della Francesco, is believed to have been in Ferrara, 
and to have left frescoes, since destroyed, in the neighbouring 
palace of Schifanoia, decorated by Duke Borso between 1451 
and 1468. Pietro della Francesca is known to have been still 
living in 1509. 

The name of Fra Carnovale is mentioned by writers on art 
in connection with that of Pietro della Francesca, Modern 
researches, however, only prove that this statement rests on 
very insufficient foundations. A stately picture in the 
Brera, of course much injured, formerly the altar-piece of 
S. Bernardino at Urbino, representing the Virgin and Child 
with four Angels and four Saints, and with Duke Federigo 
of Urbino kneeling in armour on one side, traditionally bears 
the name of Fra Carnovale. The figures have a certain 
analogy with Pietro della Francesca, and the semi-dome above 
is finely drawn. A St. Michael trampling on the dragon, with 
the monster's head in his hand, now in the National Gallery, 
is evidently by the same hand. 

Another name of more importance connected with Pietro 
della Francesca is that of Melozzo da Forli, of the 
family of the Ambrosi, who was born at Forli about 
1438. Besides a certain affinity both in style and in the 
science of art, there are circumstances in life, in spite of the 
difference of age, common to both. Both are eulogised by 
the mathematician Fra Luca Paccioli in his treatise on 
architecture ; both are extolled in terms of friendship in the 
' Cronaca ' of Giovanni Santi : 

" Melozzo a me si caro, che in prospettiva 
Ha steso tanto il passo." 

It is supposed that Melozzo owed part of his education 
to Pietro della Francesca ; at the same time a certain Man- 
tegnesque character of drapery suggests a possible con- 
nection between Melozzo and Ansuino of Forli, who assisted 
Mantegna in the Eremitani frescoes at Padua. Nothing more 
definite, however, is known of the painter's early life. The 
first records of Melozzo begin at Rome under Sixtus IV., who 



Chap. II. MELOZZO DA FORLI. 25'J 

erected the Sistine Chapel, repaired the church of the SS. 
Apostoli, and restored the Library of the Vatican, then under 
the guardianship of the learned Platina. These events oc- 
curred between 1475-80. The last mentioned was commemo- 
rated by a fresco executed by Melozzo, long an ornament of the 
wall, but subsequently transferred (to its great damage) to 
canvas, and hung now in a dark place between windows in the 
Vatican. It represents Sixtus IV. enthroned, with Platina 
kneeling before him, and attended by two cardinals and two 
other figures. This work was long attributed to Pietro della 
Francesco, and the fine proportion of the figures in space, and 
the graceful architecture, all point to a worthy representative 
of the great Umbrian master. 

In the tribune of the church of the SS. Apostoli, Melozzo 
represented the Ascension of our Lord, surrounded with 
cherubim. This is one of the most grand and daring feats 
of foreshortening that art has bequeathed, and may be con- 
sidered as the first illustration of that science which Mantegna 
and Correggio further developed. The church, or the tribune 
part, was destroyed in 1711, but the figure of Christ was 
sawn from the wall, and transferred to the staircase of the 
Quirinal Palace, where, though much damaged, it still exists.* 
Fragments of figures of angels playing on musical instru- 
ments and exhibiting the same strong foreshortenings were 
also preserved, and are placed in the Sacristy of St. Peter's ;f 
these have great grandeur of character. 

Sixtus IV. founded the Academy of St. Luke, where, 
foremost among the first autograph inscriptions is that of 
" Melotius pic. pa." (pictor papalis.) 

In Foiii itself Melozzo is only represented by one work, 
and that of a very exceptional class, called the " Pesta Pepe " 
or " Pound the Pepper," being a fresco originally painted 
for a sign over a grocer's shop, representing a figure in 
violent exertion, wielding with both hands a heavy pestle 
over a huge mortar. Here again he has foreshortened 

* Engraved in Ottley's ' Italian School of Design,' pi. 45, and in D'Agin- 
court, pi. 142. 

t Engraved in D'Agincourt, pi. 142. 

J Engraved in Rosini's ' Storia dell Pittura Italiana,' vol. iii. p. 167. 

s 2 



260 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

the figure as if seen from below. It is now in the Collegio 
at Forli. 

No record has been found to prove that Melozzo laboured 
in Urbino, though his acquaintance with Giovanni Santi 
renders it probable. But certain imaginary portraits of 
celebrated historical characters which decorated the Palace 
at Urbino, ten of which were copied on a small scale into the 
youthful Raphael's, sketch-book (now at Venice*), have been 
attributed to Melozzo. These works were at a comparatively 
recent date divided between the Roman families of the 
Sciarra and the Barberini. The Sciarra portion passed into 
the Campana collection, and is now in the Louvre ; the 
other portion remains in the Barberini Palace. Among 
other personages these represent Plato, Solon, Virgil, 
Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, Aristotle, St. Jerome, Dante, 
Cardinal Bessarion, and Pope Sixtus IV. The two last 
were possibly taken from life. These are most remarkable 
works, fully the size of life, executed with great breadth 
and luminousness, with a free and masterly touch, and a 
certain grandeur of style. The position of those Carnpana and 
Barberini pictures, the latter including one of Federigo 
Duke of Urbino, with his son Guidobaldo a boy of about 
seven have facilitated a comparison with the known fresco, 
in the Vatican, by Melozzo, of Sixtus IV. and Platina, by 
which peculiar similarities in treatment have been identified. 
Three other pictures, decidedly in oil, two of which are in 
the National Gallery, the third in the Berlin Museum, each 
corresponding in subject viz., an enthroned female figure, 
with a votary kneeling before her and connected by an 
inscription on a painted cornice relating to Federigo of 
Urbino and Montefeltre, and known to have formed part of a 
series of seven, are believed to have decorated the library at 
Urbino. These again offer great similarity in character 
with these portraits and with the fresco of Platina. Another 
picture of the same class, but much injured and restored, and 
also containing a portrait of the unmistakable Federigo, is now 
in Her Majesty's possession at Windsor. A certain Flemish 

* See Photographs of drawings by old masters at Venice. 



Chap. II. MARCO PALMEZZANO. 261 

treatment in all the above-mentioned works has led to the 
surmise that they may have been the work of Justus van 
Ghent (Giusto da Guanto), who worked in Urbino in the 
time of Federigo. Those, however, who knew the one work 
at Urbino, The Last Supper, by Justus, repudiate this 
surmise, the author of that work being quite incapable of 
executing those we have described. Their authorship, it can 
only be said, is one of those questions in the connoisseur-world 
which at present remain unsolved ; the name of Melozzo, as 
given in the National Gallery, is meanwhile the most worthy 
and probable suggestion.* Melozzo died in 1494, leaving a 
pupil who, from his occasionally adopting his master's name 
appended to his own in his signatures, has been in his finest 
works mistaken for him. 

Marco Palmezzano, or " Marcus de Melotius," as he also 
signs himself, was pupil of Melozzo da Forll. The date of his 
birth is unknown, but his additional signature " Pictor Foro- 
liviensis," shows that he was a native of Forli. He followed 
his master, and is even believed to have gone beyond him, in 
the study of geometry, and in the working of architectural 
plans. To this may perhaps be imputed the hardness and 
dryness which, with some exceptions, characterise his works. 
He appears as a fresco painter in the chapel of S. Biagio in 

* Among the memoranda by Sir Charles Eastlake are the following 
remarks on these works, dating from 1856 to 1861. Speaking of the 
three pictures (two in the National Gallery, and one in the Berlin Museum, 
called by him " the Conti pictures," from their having belonged to the 
Conti family at Florence), he says: "The name of Me'wzo da Forli was 
first thought of from the seeming impossibility of fiuiing among the 
resident painters at Urbino of the time (1470-80) any other artist good 
enough for such works. This reasoning applies, however, more par- 
ticularly to the portraits of celebrated men in the Campana and Barberini 
collections at Rome, which must have existed before the death of 
Federigo (in 1483), from which Raphael drew when very young, and 
which, in some instances, for example, in that of Sixtus IV., are closely 
allied in style to the Conti pictures. These portraits have also been 
supposed to be Flemish, and Justus of Ghent (Giusto da Guanto), who 
actually painted at Urbino in the time of Federigo, may seem a plausible 
name. Judging, however, from the large specimen by that painter at 
Urbino (a Last Supper), it is certain that he was not equal to such works." 

Further, describing the fresco in the Vatican, the known work of 
Melozzo, Sir Charles Eastlake says : " The draperies (sleeves) of two figures 
on the left are quite like some of the portraits at the Marchese Campana's : 
heads, some of them, as fine; hands (nails) same style; accessories, gold 
ornaments &c. allowing for difference in fresco, the same." 



MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 



S. Girolamo at Forli the ceiling of which exhibits that 
power of foreshortening, and taste and fancy in architectural 
forms and decorations, which he inherited from Melozzo, 
though in other respects he remains far inferior to him. 
Frescoes in the Capella del Tesoro in the cathedral at 
Loretto are also attributed to him. His panel-pictures, all 
in oil, are numerous, and bear witness to a life of great 
activity. His chef-d'oeuvre is an altar-piece in the chapel of the 
Orfanotrofio delle Femine at the Michelline at Faenza, com- 
pleted by the painter in the year 1500 : it represents a Virgin 
and Child on a throne which is perforated below, with figures 
and landscape seen through ; a Saint on horseback and St. 
Michael are on the left; and on the right St. Anthony 
grasping the hand of St. Jerome. This work is finely 
executed, with carefully drawn hands, and with all the 
master's skill in elaborate and tasteful architecture. 

Another fine, and robustly-coloured work, St. Anthony 
enthroned with the Baptist and St. Sebastian, the pig below, 
and with the master's usual gilt and arabesqued pilasters, is 
in the Carmine at Forli. 

A favourite subject with Marco Palmezzano, is our 
Lord bearing His Cross, of which the finest example was 
exhibited at Manchester in 1857. His works are too 
numerous to specify, and many a hitherto anonymous or 
misnamed picture has been identified as his. They abound 
in the churches at Forli, and in the Pinacoteca of that place, 
where his own portrait, by himself, signed and dated 1536, 
is also preserved, showing an aged white-haired and robust 
man. Almost all his works are signed. The date of his 
death is unknown. 

Giovanni Santi* was one of those who derived light from 
the brilliant galaxy of talent collected in Urbino by Duke 
Federigo, including Pietro delta Francesca, Luca Signorelli, 
and Melozzo, and to the splendour of which he in his turn 
contributed. As father of Raphael, Giovanni Santi has always 
been an object of interest to historians, but he has hardly 

* ' Elogio storico di Giovanni Santi, pittore e poeta,' Urbino, 1822. See 
especially Passavant, " Rafael von Urbino und sein Yater Giovanni Sauti, r: 
Leipzig, 1839, vol. i. p. 11. 



Chap. II. GIOVANNI SANTI. 263 

received the credit due to himself. His family suffered in 
their ancestral property by a raid from the ferocious 
Sigismund Malatesta, which caused them to remove into the 
town of Urbino in 1446, at which time Giovanni was a boy. 
His instructor in art is not recorded, but the fact that Pietro 
della Francesco,, on being invited to Urbino in 1469, lodged 
in his house, is a sign that he was already associated with 
the profession. Giovanni was also known for his love of 
polite literature a taste also easily fostered at the Court of 
Urbino ; and a curious chronicle in rhyme, celebrating the 
acts of Duke Federigo, preserved in the Vatican, has 
attracted recent notice as a cotemporary record of the 
principal painters, not only in Urbino and the surrounding 
territory, but in all parts of Italy. The affectionate terms 
in which he eulogises Pietro della Francesca and Melozzo, 
as already quoted, show the friendship he maintained with 
them. He is also supposed to have known Andrea Manteyna, 
who receives one of his highest tributes ; at all events the 
correctness of Giovanni Santi's judgment is being more and 
more ratified as the knowledge of the old masters increases. 
The style of" this roaster is simple and serious, and of con- 
scientious finish ; a quiet gentleness characterises his heads, 
and especially his children's heads, in the loveliness of which 
he shows himself the true forerunner of his great son. He 
partakes of the character of the painters around him, and 
even shows Mantegnesque tendencies, but he fails in the force 
or depth of the Umbrian masters, properly so called, and his 
colouring has a peculiar light leaden tone, deficient in 
warmth. His outlines are also frequently hard. His earlier 
pictures are generally found in the March of Ancona. For 
instance, a pleasing but not thoroughly studied Visitation of 
the Virgin, in S. Maria Nuova at Fano ; a Madonna with 
four Saints of a freer grace and grander cast of drapery, in 
the hospital church of S. Croce at the same place ; a so-called 
Madonna del Popolo, protecting the faithful with her mantle, 
with a lively, individual, and even almost humorous head, in 
the hospital oratory at Montefiore ; and a Madonna with 
four Saints, of a serious and mild character, dated 1484, in 
the Pieve at Gradara, not far from Pesaro. An Annuncia- 



264 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 



tion of his early time, harsh in drawing and colouring, and 
of no great merit, is in the Brera at Milan. A Madonna 
enthroned, with St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Jerome, St. Catherine, 
St. Thomas the Apostle, and the donor, of unequal style, 
and in some respects strictly in a Mantegnesque manner, is 
in the Berlin Museum. 

Giovanni's most developed pictures are, however, chiefly 
those which were executed in Urbino ; for example, a St. 
Sebastian and archers the latter in vigorous and success- 
ful foreshortening, one of whom reappears in the figure 
breaking his rod, in Raphaels " Sposalizio " with figures 
of the donors, is in the oratory of St. Sebastian at Urbino ; a 
Madonna with Saints of almost Florentine character, of the 
year 1489, is at Montefiorentino, not far from Urbania (see 
woodcut) ; also one of his chief pictures, and of the same 
year, is in S. Francesco at Urbino, namely, the Madonna with 
Saints and donors (these latter not the portraits of his own 
family, as is currently believed), with two side pictures of 
Saints, whose drapery clearly points to Mantegna and others. 
Finally, Giovanni is seen in his highest beauty in the 
frescoes of the church of the Dominicans at Cagli (Cappella 
Tiranni), of the year 1492, representing a Madonna enthroned, 
with Angels and Saints; the Resurrection and the First 
Person of the Trinity, surrounded by cherubs, above ; also 
an Annunciation and a dead Christ, with two Saints. His 
drawing is here not only fuller and more animated, and his 
colouring fresher, than in his other works, but in the 
expression of many of the figures he foreshadows the grace of 
his son Raphael. The fresco of the Madonna in Giovannis 
own house at Urbino, which has enjoyed the reputation of 
being Raphaels earliest work, is now acknowledged to be by 
the hand of his father.* 

The teaching or influence of Pietro della Francesca is 
shown in his correct foreshortenings and perspective. Giovanni 
Santi worked in that mixed vehicle, very different to pure 
tempera, and yet not, properly speaking, oil, which in the 

* An excellent Madonna with Children and Saints, now in the Berlin 
Museum, was formerly erroneously inscribed with Giovanni Santas name. 
It is now recognised as the work of Timoteo della Vite. 




MADONXA WITH SAINTS ; an altar-pieca by Giovanni Saoti 
at Alor-tefiorenlmo. 



Chap. II. UMBRIAN SCHOOLS. 2G5 

hands of the Pollaiuoli had formed a transition between the 
two. Giovanni Santi died in 1494, and was buried in the 
church of S. Francesco at Urbino. 

We must here briefly record the names of a few painters 
who dot the remoter places of the Apennines, and who, 
however second-rate, yet contribute to those numerous 
currents of art which irrigated the centre of Italy. Taking 
up the stream from S. Severino, we come to Camerino, which 
claims two painters, Giovanni Boccati, and Girolamo di 
Giovanni, generally believed to be his son. The first is 
known by a signed altar-piece, dated 1437, with predella, 
now in the gallery at Perugia. The Virgin and Child are 
seen enthroned between two angels, and surrounded with 
seraphim. SS. Domenick and Francis, accompanied by the 
four Fathers of the Latin Church, each present a kneeling 
brother of their respective Orders. A peculiar feature 
presents itself in the dog held in a leash by the Infant 
Christ, and which is licking his hand. This painter bears 
an Umbrian physiognomy, with features of a Sienese kind. 

Girolamo di Giovanni, of Camerino, has also a picture, 
signed and dated 1473, at Monte S. Martino near Fermo, 
the Madonna and Child, with angels, between SS. Thomas 
and Cyprian. This tells the influence of the Vii-arini 
which extended along the sea-board of the Marches, to which 
we shall revert. 

From Camerino the distance is short, northward, to 
Gualdo Tadino, on the eastern slope of the Apennines, to 
which place belongs Matteo da Gualdo, who shows an affinity 
to Boccati, and whose profuse patterns, ornaments, positive 
colours, and affectation of grace bespeak the poorer charac- 
teristics of the Uinbrian school. Eeminiscences of the 
manner of Benozzo Gozzoli, also appear in Matteo da Gualdo, 
accounted for by the fact that a signed fresco by Matteo , dated 
1468, an enthroned Madonna with angels and Saints and 
the Annunciation above, occupies a wall in SS. Antonio e 
Jacopo at Assisi, in a chapel decorated with frescoes by 
Benozzo's assistant, Pictro Antonio. Matteo is seen again 
in a signed fresco at S. Maria della Circa at Sigillo, on the 
hills outside Gubbio, representing the Virgin and Child. 



266 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 



This master also introduces the same strange feature ob- 
served before, for in the Annunciation at Assisi a dog 
accompanies the Virgin, and at Sigillo, the Infant holds a 
dog in its arms.* 

Bartolommeo di Tommaso of Fuligno, who laboured at the 
beginning of the fifteenth century, displays much the same 
Umbrian types in a picture in S. Salvador at Fuligno. 

Pietro Antonio, just alluded to, belongs also to Fuligno. 
He is known to have studied under Benozzo Gozzoli, and 
frescoes attributed to him repeat not only the forms of 
his master but some of his impressions. The Winds, for 
instance, in Giotto's Navicella, which Benozzo had seen 
and perhaps copied at Rome, are imitated in a chapel 
called S. Maria in Campis, a short distance from Fuligno 
on the way to Spoleto. 

This painter leads us to his cotemporary and fellow 
townsman, Niccolb Alunno of Fuligno, who signs himself 
" Nicolaus Fulignas." He may be characterised as uniting 
such feeling belonging to Fra Angelica as Benozzo could 
transmit, with a native Umbrian tendency ; two styles which 
had a natural affinity. Niccolb Alunno gave more expression 
to the gentle type of Madonna and angels hitherto aimed at 
in this part of Italy, and in his male figures he has an 
earnestness of expression, accompanied by greater fulness 
and sturdiness than the succeeding Umbrian painters 
endorsed. In his delineations of St. Francis, which are 
frequent, we remark a peculiar enthusiasm ; but his re- 
presentations of suffering are violent and exaggerated. His 
earliest known work a Madonna with Angels and Saints, 
1458 is preserved upon the high altar of the Franciscan 
church at Diruta, between Perugia and Todi. His Annuncia- 
tion, of the year 1466, in S. Maria Nuova at Perugia, is an 
interesting picture, severe and solemn, almost in the style of 
the. early Sienese masters, though full of grace and feeling. 
Above, is the First Person of the Trinity, among cherubim ; 

* Another Gualdo, a bad imitator of Luca Signorelli, who signs himself 
" Bernardus Hieronitni Gualden pingebat," is seen in a picture at Asinaluuga, 
the Madonna with a club driving away the demon from a woman with a 
child, 



Chap. II. UMBRIAN SCHOOLS. 



below, are Saints in prayer, with the donor and other figures. 
The head of one of the angels is of great beauty. " A natural- 
istic tendency, not confined to this specimen, is seen here in 
the priedieu of the Madonna, which has an open cupboard with 
books, &c." * Other altar-pieces by him are in the church 
of the Castle of S. Severino (1468), and in S. Francesco at 
Gualdo (1471). Another, similar to this last-named, in the 
sacristy of the principal church at Nocera (not far from 
Fuligno), belongs to the finest works of this master. The 
chief compartments of an altar-piece of the church of the 
Augustins, S. Niccolo, at Fuligno (1492), are still preserved 
there : they include a Nativity, with the Eesurrectiou above, 
and Saints on each side. The predella pictures, containing 
scenes from the Passion, of highly animated and dramatic 
character, amounting almost to caricature, are now in the 
Louvre. Frescoes by Alunno are also preserved in S. Maria 
i'uori la Porta at Fuligno ; they are much injured, however, 
and are of no high merit. Fragments also still exist of the 
pictures originally belonging to the high altar in the 
cathedral at Assisi : they represented a Pieta, with two 
angels, who, according to Vasari, wept so naturally that a 
better artist could hardly have been more successful. His 
last known work, the altar-piece of S. Angelo, in La Bastia, 
not far from Perugia, 1499, is of inferior value. Many 
other of his works are found dispersed in the March of 
Ancona. Almost all those we have mentioned, according to 
the early, though at that time almost obsolete, usage, consisted 
of several pieces. A pleasing Madonna, a whole-length 
figure on a gold ground, is in the Berlin Museum. He 
attempted also foreshortenings and drew minutely and 
carefully. Without attributing to him much power and 
influence he yet held a place destined to be raised to the 
level of true beauty by Perugino, and which is thus connected 
with the ultimate culmination of Raphael. No record of 
Niccolo Alunno appears after 1499. 

One of the earliest masters who brought the school of 
Perugia into notice was Benedetto Bonfigli. In the absence 
of all records regarding the early life of this painter, his 
* Memorandum by Sir C. L. Eastlake : Perugia, 1856. 



268 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

alleged connection with Perugino receives no corroboration, 
nor does the character of his art supply the deficiency.* He 
approaches in some respects the character of Pietro della 
Francesco, and in others that of Gentile da Fabriano, and 
Benozzo Gozzoli. The frescoes in the Palazzo del Consiglio 
at Perugia (in the antechamber of the Delegates), begun in 
1454, are the earliest records of his art. They represent the 
legends of St. Louis of Toulouse and S. Ercolano, and though 
of no great merit in action or form, they have naivete of 
expression. The architectural backgrounds (see woodcut) 
are correct in perspective and delicately executed. Bonfigli 
has a certain Umbrian grace and sweetness of colour, with 
a love of detail almost akin to Flemish art, and his angels, 
usually wearing crowns of roses, have a charm of their own. 
His best work, an Adoration of the Kings, in S. Domenico, 
is ostensibly of the year 1460. A Madonna with Saints, in 
the Academy, and two paintings on wood Angels with the 
Instruments of the Passion belong to his more pleasing 
productions. On the other hand, a large picture of Christ 
in Glory, and the Acts of S. Bernardino, in the chapel of 
the brotherhood of that name (after 1461, painted probably 
as a banner for processions), are stiff, hard, and portrait- 
like. The same may be said of a Madonna with a Dead, 
Christ, and two Saints, SS. Girolamo and Leonardo, of the 
year 1469, in S. Pietro de' Cassinensi. The date of his will, 
1496, is the only clue to the approximate time of Bonfigli' 's 
death. 

The last-mentioned master is connected with a somewhat 
younger painter, Fiorenzo di Lorenzo, who, in picturesque 
arrangement and application of his subject, and in certain 
refinements in the conception of his forms pointing, perhaps, 
to an acquaintance with the Paduan school is decidedly in 
advance of him. Fiorenzo is believed to have laboured in 
Bonfigli's atelier, and a series of eight panels, seen in the 
Academy at Perugia, of the Life of S. Bernardino, is assigned 
to them jointly. The works of Fiorenzo are rare. In the 

* Sir 0. L. Eastlake remarks, Perugia, 1858, " The only similarity- 
between Btnfigli and Perugino consists in what is technically termed 'the 
eyes,' or peculiar folds in the drapery." 



Chap. II. PIETRO PERUGINO. 269 

sacristy of S. Francesco de' Conventual!, at Perugia, are two 
pictures of St. Peter and St. Paul, inscribed with the name 
of the artist and the year 1487, which are very careful in 
execution and in excellent preservation ; also the upper 
portion of a large semicircular picture, representing a 
Madonna and Child, and two adoring angels. A graceful 
Madonna with Angels is in the Palazzo del Consiglio (over 
the door of the Sala del Cadasto Nuovo) ; another is in a 
side chapel of S. Agostino. Another work assigned to the 
master, dated 1475, the First Person of the Trinity between 
SS. Romano and Rocco, is a fresco in S. Francesco at Diruta. 
This work, as well as others, shows the dawning influence of 
Perugino himself. A Madonna on gold ground, dated 1481, 
in the Berlin Museum, leads to the supposition that a picture 
of a dry character the Adoration of the Magi, in the 
Academy at Perugia, hitherto pronounced to be an early 
production of Perugino, and now strangely misnamed a 
Ghirlandajo is by Fiorenzo di Lorenzo. The life of this 
painter is accounted for up to 1499. 

We now come to the greatest name associated with 
Perugia. Pietro Vanned della Pieve (" de Castro plebis ") 
so called from his birthplace, Castello della Pieve -or more 
commonly, Pietro Perugino, from his residence at Perugia 
was born in 1446. His early instruction has been assigned 
to Bonfigli ; but it is known that he acted as assistant to 
Pietro della Francesco, at Arezzo. He thus laid the founda- 
tion of that Umbrian feeling which is never absent from his 
works. About the year 1475, Perugino appears in Florence, 
studying under Verocchio with Leonardo da Vinci and Lo- 
renzo di Credi. To this time Giovanni Santi refers in his 
chronicle : 

" Due giovin par d'etate e par d'amori 
Leonardo da Vinci e'l Perusino 
Pier della Pieve ch'e un divin pittore." 

It is known that Perugino, inspired doubtless by Pietro 
della Francesca, was versed in the study of perspective, and he 
and Leonardo da Vinci are named together for proficiency in 
that science by a cotemporary writer.* There is no doubt also 

* Caporali. Vitruv: ub. sup. p. 16. 



270 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 



that they studied the mysteries of the then new art of oil- 
painting together. This art Perugino was among the first to 
bring to perfection ; at the same time he excelled in the art of 
tempera. A circular picture at Paris, once in the Corsini 
Palace at Rome, then in the Royal Gallery at the Hague, 
and now in the Louvre, is a beautiful specimen by him of 
this method. The dates of Perugino's earlier works are 
difficult to define. Many small pictures exist, particularly 
in Florence, evidently executed before he had experienced 
the influence of the Florentine school. They display some 
characteristic peculiarities, but belong decidedly to his 
earlier style. A circular picture of this kind is in the 
Museum of Berlin, a Madonna with two adoring angels. 
During his stay in Florence, between 1475 and 1489, he 
appears at one time to have rather inclined to the then 
prevalent taste for direct imitation, to which several works 
executed about 1470-1480 bear witness. There is a proof 
of this in an Adoration of the Kings in S. Maria Niiova at 
Perugia, with the portrait of the artist, who appears about 
thirty years of age ; the kings and their followers are repre- 
sented standing together, in the beautiful Florentine manner, 
quiet and characteristic. A picture of the Crucifixion, with 
Saints, in the church of La Calza at Florence, reminds 
us decidedly of Luca Signorelli. In about the year 1480 
Perugino was summoned to Rome by Sixtus IV., in order 
to contribute his share to the decorations of the Sistine 
Chapel, where he was the only artist employed not a 
Florentine. Some of these works were afterwards destroyed 
to make room for Michael Angela's " Last Judgment ;'' but 
those still remaining the Baptism of Christ and the 
Delivering the Keys to Peter are decidedly in the Flo- 
rentine manner; this is apparent in the composition, in 
the arrangement of the numerous groups of spectators, 
and in the drapery. We pass over other works of this 
period. 

After Perugino had thus passed through the schools, he 
returned to his own first manner. If his early works 
indicate the prevailing tone of his mind and feelings, and if 
the effect of study appears to predominate in those which 



Chap. II. PIETRO PERUGINO. 271 

follow, the period in which he returned to his natural taste, 
embodying with it that force and clearness which his in- 
termediate study had taught, is necessarily the greatest and 
most interesting epoch of the artist's life. It was at this 
time he acquired that grace and softness, that tender en- 
thusiastic earnestness, which give so great a charm to his 
pictures ; and if they sometimes leave much to be wished 
in force and variety of character, the heads especially those 
depicting youth and ardent expression are of surpassing 
beauty. In the colouring, again, both of the flesh and 
drapery, in the warm, bright skies, and in the well-managed 
gradations of his landscapes, he had great and varied merit. 
Altogether these works are proofs, not only of the highest 
point of attainment in this school, but also evidences of its 
intrinsic defects. Perugino, it would seem, intentionally 
avoided the higher department of dramatic historical paint- 
ing ; and all the other painters of his school (Raphael always 
excepted) remain in this respect considerably behind the 
Florentines. In accounting for this we must remember the 
comparative ignorance of anatomical action which prevailed 
in this school, and its restriction to a few and ever-repeated 
positions. The hitherto unexampled intensity of Perugino's 
otherwise monotonous expression, though it made amends for 
other absent qualities, yet became, in course of time, a source 
of failing in itself, by degenerating frequently into mere 
mannerism. Where a number of his pictures are seen 
together, the upcast eye and the expression of semi-woeful 
ecstasy soon pall upon the spectator. There is something 
characteristic also of Perugino in those rich and sparkling 
decorations of his robes and drapery, which, in a more 
positive mode of viewing real life, would have taken 
a more subordinate position. The figures of angels, so 
numerous in his pictures, and which in the Florentine and 
Paduan school of the fifteenth century appear as powerful 
youths, generally half nude, are here represented, according 
to the early taste, draped, of *no sex, and frequently of super- 
natural purity and beauty. His best works were executed 
between 1490 and 1505. "The following are among the most 
celebrated : The altar-piece painted for the church of S. 



272 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

Domenico at Fiesole, and dated 1493, representing the 
Madonna and Child enthroned, with the Baptist and St. 
Sebastian standing beside them, now in the gallery of the 
Uffizi. This picture is remarkable for a very refined cha- 
racter and expression in the Madonna. Another, with the 
same date, somewhat similar in subject, in the Belvedere 
Gallery at Vienna. A picture with the Madonna with two 
Saints, SS. Augustin and James, dated 1494, in the church 
of S. Agostino at Cremona." * 

In 1495, the execution or completion of four splendid 
works show not only the perfection of his powers, but the 
rapidity of his hand. These are, firstly, the Pieta in the 
Pitti, formerly in S. Chiara, a work much injured by 
neglect, but still preserving features hardly surpassed even 
by his great scholar. No picture, perhaps, can be quoted 
containing so many heads of exquisitely pathetic expression. 
Three sketches for it are in the gallery of the Uffizi. 

Secondly : The enthroned Madonna and Child surrounded 
by the patron Saints of Perugia, painted for and formerly in 
the Cappella del Magistrate at Perugia, and now, after having 
been taken to Paris, in the gallery of the Vatican.^ 

Thirdly : The Ascension, painted for S. Pietro Maggiore 

at Perugia, and now in the gallery at Lyons ; and Fourthly, 

the Sposalizio, or Marriage of the Virgin, once in the Duomo 

.at Penrgia, and now at the museum of Caen in Normandy 

.(see woodcut). 

The Ascension was taken to Paris by the French in its 
entire state, but now exists piecemeal in various galleries. 
The principal centre is at Lyons presented to the Lyonnais 
by Pius VII. ; the lunette is in S. Germain 1'Auxerrois at 
Paris ; three pilaster Saints are in the Vatican, five more in 
S. Pietro at Perugia ; and the predella, in the Museum at 
Eouen. Another excellent work is an altar-piece of the year 
1497 in the church of S. Maria Nuova at Fano ; the centre 
picture contains the Madonna with Saints, the upper lunette 
an Entombment, and the predella five subjects from the 

* ' Materials for a History of Oil Painting,' by Sir Charles Eastlake, 
vol. ii. p. 128. 

t See a curious and amusing account of this picture given by Marotti in 
1 Lettere pittoriche Perugine,' pp. 146-152. 



Chap. II. PIETRO PERUGINO. 273 



life of the Virgin. These predella pictures are very fine. 
Three of them were copied by Raphael. 

The picture of the Madonna and Child, round whom kneel 
six figures, while angels hover above, painted in 1498 for 
the Confraternity " della Consolazione " in Perugia, is in S. 
Domenico in that city. About the same time was painted 
the altar-piece called the Family of St. Anna, formerly in the 
church of S. Maria de' Fossi at Perugia, and now in the 
museum at Marseilles. Two children (SS. James, major and 
minor) in this picture were copied by Raphael in tempera 
on a gold ground.* 

The great work by Perugino the series of frescoes in 
the Sala del Cambio at Perugia was completed about 
1500. These bear the same relation to the master's fame 
as those in the Vatican do to that of Raphael. Here he 
has represented on the walls and ceiling of the Audience 
Hall a rich design, with Apollo in his chariot with four 
horses in the centre above. Around him are the presiding 
deities of the planets Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus, Mer- 
cury, and Luna, with the signs of the Zodiac on their 
chariot wheels. They are enframed in arabesques which 
exhibit the fine taste in decoration peculiar to the Umbrian 
school. On the walls are the Nativity and Transfiguration, 
with the First Person of the Trinity presiding above 
the Virtues and classic heroes on the left, the Prophets 
and the Sybils on the right. Here Perugino is seen in great 
perfection of colour, drawing, and drapery. The ceiling is 
supposed to have been executed by his pupils from his 
designs. f The master's own portrait is seen on one of the 
pilasters which divide the subjects ; on an opposite pilaster 
is " anno salut : M.D." 

The rapidity of Perugino 's labour is seen in another work 
of the same date (1500) the Vallambrosa Assumption, 
now in the Accademia at Florence. The Madonna and the 
four Saints are among his finest creations. Another work 
which belongs to his best time is a Virgin and Child in 

* This, perhaps the earliest work by the great master, is preserved in the 
sacristy of St. Pietro Maggiore, at Perugia. 

f The close investigation by Signor Oavalcaselle leads him to surmis* 
the assistance of Raphael, then between sixteen and seventeen years of age. 



274 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

Glory with angels, and four saints below, now in the gallery 
at Bologna. 

In 1502 Perugino executed the Besurrection of our Lord 
(see woodcut) for S. Francesco of Perugia. This is now in 
the Vatican, where it possesses a double interest as being 
believed to have been partly the work of Raphael.* 

To the years 1504-1505 belong the wall paintings at Citta 
della Pieve, and at Panicale. Those at Citta della Pieve 
(S. Maria de' Bianchi) represent the Adoration of the Magi 
with numerous figures (see woodcut). This subject has 
beautiful parts, for instance, the Virgin and Child, though 
with all the master's weaknesses.! 

The frescoes at Panicale, in the church of St. Sebastian, 
represent the martyrdom of that Saint. These are works of 
symmetrical composition and delicate tones, but are chiefly 
characteristic as being apparently painted on the dry wall, 
in the method called ' ; secco." To about this time is attributed 
the chef-d'oeuvre of the master, the Madonna of the Certosa 
at Pavia, now in the National Gallery, a production the more 
worthy of note, if it be true as Vasari says, that this was the 
period when Michael Angela ridiculed the style of Perugino 
as " absurd and antiquated.'' In one sense, however, this 
picture may be viewed as one of the highest specimens of 
the reticence and intensity of expression proper to the 
Quattrocentisti. 

It is supposed that Perugino removed from Florence to 
Perugia in 1506, where he produced a fine work, the Madonna 
and Child between SS. Jerome and Francis, now in the 
Palazzo Penna. Hence he was summoned, about 1507, by 
Julius II. to Rome, where, after working on the walls of 
the Camera del' Incendio, he was supplanted by his young 
scholar Raphael, who, however, from respect, it is belie ved, 
for his master, preserved four medallions on the ceiling 
with representations of the First Person of the Trinity. 

* Crowe and Cavalcaselle rightly pronounce this assistance to consist more 
in a general working out of the whole picture upon Perugino's outlines, 
than in the execution of any particular figure. 

t Sir C. L. Eustiake remarks on this fresco, "The graceful and sen- 
timental old men are generally failures in Perugino. In youths his 
attitudes and airs are more appropriate, in women and children quite so. 4 ' 
Citta della Pieve, 1861. 




Vatican. 






Chap. II. BERNARDO PINTURICCHIO. 275 



On Perugino's final return to Perugia, he gave himself up, 
like many painters of the time, to a mere mechanical dexterity, 
and worked principally for gain. He erected a large studio, 
in which several scholars were employed to execute com- 
missions from his designs. He thus amassed a considerable 
fortune, but at the expense of his art, becoming even weak in 
colouring, which constitutes so great a part of his merit. 
In his later works, therefore, of which there are many in 
the churches of Perugia and in foreign galleries, the 
greatest uniformity and repetition of design prevail, with 
considerable inequality of execution, according as more or 
less gifted scholars were employed. His last works are 
strikingly weak ; the Martyrdom ' of S. Sebastian, of the 
year 1518, in S. Francesco de' Conventuali, Perugia, may be 
mentioned as an example. Altogether, with the exception of 
the Cambio frescoes, this city possesses rather the inferior 
than the better specimens of the master. His later works 
are also scattered about the adjacent places. He executed 
frescoes at Frontignano as late as 1522, where he died 
of the plague. 

Perugino's, chief quality is his fine luminous colour, with a 
certain sentimental grace which pervades his school. But he 
is often tame and conventional, and his upturned heads, a 
favourite feature in his pictures, are ill foreshortened and 
frequently out of drawing. 

Bernardo Pinturiccltio was the son of Benedetto Biagio 
barn at Perugia, 1454 called after his father di Betto or 
Betd from the lowness of his stature, Pinturicchio, or the 
little painter and sometimes, from his deafness, " il Sordichio." 
He was the assistant of Perugino, and probably educated in 
the school of Bonfigli. Properly speaking, he is the histo- 
rical painter of the Umbrian school, and in some respects, a 
more gifted artist than Perugino, whose earlier and more 
realistic Florentine type he greatly resembles. According to 
his conventional treatment of the department of expression, it 
would appear that he only superficially adopted the feeling 
of his colleague, without being re:illy imbued with it. His 
chief peculiarity is seen in his varied conception of character, 
in which he marks the transition from the Umbrian school 

T 2 



276 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

to the Roman, as founded by Raphael, showing the decay of 
that spiritualism which especially distinguishes the former. 
" A less brilliant and subtle colourist than Perugino less 
tender and religious in sentiment he displays greater 
dramatic vigour and unity in his works."* 

Of the earlier productions of Pinturicchio little is known. 
We find him first, as the assistant or colleague of Perugino, 
employed on the works of the Sistine Chapel. He was soon 
engaged on independent labours, and before he was thirty he 
had executed for Cardinal della Rovere and other dignitaries 
important frescoes in different chapels in S. Maria del Popolo. 
He was also employed by Innocent VIII. and Alexander VI. 
in decorating with frescoes various walls in the Castle of S. 
Augelo, and the new hall in the Vatican known as the 
" Appartamento Borgia." The former have perished, but of the 
Vatican suite five rooms are still preserved. The date 1494 
appears on a cartellino on the ceiling of the fourth room. 
The frescoes of the sixth room were destroyed by Leo X. 
to make room for Giovanni da Udine, and Perino del Vaga. 
By order of Innocent VIII. he also painted the walls in the 
Belvedere, now called the Musco Clementino, with views of 
Italian cities, in the Flemish manner, now very imperfectly 
traceable. Pinturicchio' 's best works at Rome are the decorations 
of the Cappella Bufalini in S. Maria Araceli the first chapel 
on the right : they represent various scenes from the life of St. 
Bernard of Siena, and are slight and hard in execution, but 
full of expression and individual life. The four Evangelists 
are painted in this style on the vaulted roof, each with those 
conventional allusions (for example, St. John looking at his 
pen to see whether it be sharp enough) which recur so 
frequently in Pinturicchio. Other frescoes of uncertain date 
and much injured are added to the master's works in Rome 
-those on the ceiling of the Sacristy of St. Cecilia in 
Trastevere, and others in S. Croce in Gerusalemme the 
latter doubtless by his school. Frescoes in S. Onofrio, 
a Coronation of the Virgin, and scenes from the Legend of 
t'le Cross are now given to Peruzzi. On the other hand 

* ' The Frescoes by Bernardo Piuturicchio in the Collegiate Church of 
S. Maria Maggiore at Spello,' by Right Hon. A. H. Layard. Published by 
the Arundel Society, 1858. 




MADONNA AND CHILD, WITH ANGELS AND DONOR ; Altar-piece by Finturicchio, 

Chapel cf Sacristy, Duomo Nuovo, S. Severino. p. 277. 



Chap. II. BERNARDO PIXTURICCHIO. 277 

we may mention a Madonna and Child in a chapel of the 
Palazzo de' Conservator! in the Capitol : * she is seated 
enthroned, fronting the spectator ; her large mantle forms 
a grand cast of drapery ; the Child, on her lap, sleeps in 
the loveliest attitude ; she folds her hands and looks down, 
quiet, serious, and beautiful : in the clouds are two adoring 
angels. 

During his labours in Rome, 1491-2, Pinturicchio was 
called to Orvieto to contribute to the decorations of the 
Cathedral, but whatever he executed there has been so neg- 
lected or injured, that, were it not for documentary evidence, it 
might be doubted whether he had painted there at all. Pinfn- 
ricchio left Rome for Perugia in 1496, where his first and one 
of his finest works is an altar-piece in several compartments, 
executed for S. Anna, and now in the Academy. This picture 
displays, perhaps, more than any other of the Umbrian 
school, the peculiarly deep and pure feeling of Niccolb 
Alunno, united with a better knowledge of form and a more 
beautiful manner; in the heads especially the character and 
expression are conceived and rendered with the deepest 
feeling. Another fine specimen, now protected by a glass, 
is the Madonna and Child, with angels and donor (see 
woodcut), in the private chapel of the Sacristy in the 
Duomo Nuovo at S. Severino. 

In 1500, then in his forty-sixth year, Pinturicchio com- 
menced a series of frescoes in the collegiate church at Spello. 
These important works, though long forgotten and in no way 
exempted from the general maltreatment common to all art 
in Italy, have at all events not suffered the tender mercies of 
restoration, and are now rescued from oblivion by the labours 
of the Arundel Society. They consist of three subjects 
the Annunciation above, with the Nativity and Dispute with 
the Doctors on each side below. In the Annunciation a 
composition with rich architecture is seen, as if suspended 
from the wall, and beneath a shelf on which volumes are 
lying, the portrait of the painter with his signature, and 
between a string of beads which hang from the frame are a 
palette and brush. On a pilaster in the same fresco is the 
* Recently ascribed to Ingegno. See Passavant's ' Rafael,' vol. i. p. 501. 



278 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

date 1501. The heads here are of a very different type to 
Perugino's some of them very beautiful, and of a more 
delicate oval. The Nativity is the least successful, being 
scattered in composition. The angels singing above have 
all Perugino's grace. The Christ Disputing with the Doctors 
has much dignity and individuality, and is characteristic of 
the place held by the painter between Perugino and Raphael. 
On the left, in a group of figures, is the portrait of the Prior 
Trojolo Baglioni, the donor. He is in a long black robe, and 
attended by a priest with a purse in his hand. In the back- 
ground is one of those polygonal domed buildings intended 
to typify the Temple of Jerusalem, which is introduced by 
Perugino in Christ's Charge to Peter in the Sistine Chapel, 
again in his Sposalizio at Caen, and by Raphael in his 
Sposalizio in the Brera. 

The master was next engaged on what remains his most 
important monument, the decorations of the celebrated 
Libreria attached to the cathedral at Siena. These consist 
of a series of ten historical subjects from the life of Enea 
Silvio Piccolomini Pope Pius II.* In some of them Pintu- 
ricchio was assisted, at all events in design, by the youthful 
Raphael, as proved by still existing drawings, one of which, 
representing the departure of Enea Silvio with Cardinal 
Capranico (see woodcut), is in the UflBzi. These drawings 
show a higher feeling than the pictures themselves. Never- 
theless, there is much grace in single figures and in the general 
eifect, set off as it is by a profusion of arabesques and archi- 
tectural ornaments which render the Libreria the most perfect 
example existing of this class of Umbrian art. Some of 
the heads, and even whole figures, show the influence of 
Perugino's frescoes in the Cambio at Perugia. This great 
work, interrupted by many minor undertakings, was com- 
pleted in 1507. 

Later works in fresco were executed by Pinturicchio for 
Pandolfo Petrucci at Siena, the remnants of which the 
History of Penelope and two others, sawn from the wall are 
in the possession of Mr. Barker. The master's last authentic 

* Engraved in the ' Raccolta delle piu celebri pitture esistenti nella citta 
di Siena, Firenze, 1825.' 





LIFE OV ENEA SILVIO PICCOLOMINI ; by Pinturicchio, Libreria, Siena. 



p. 278. 



Chap. II. LO SPAGNA. 279 

work is a beautiful cabinet picture, the Procession to 
Calvary, now in the Casa Borromeo, at Milan, painted in 
1513 ; in which year his life came to a tragic conclusion. 
For it is reported that, being ill, his wife ran away with 
a lover and left him to die of neglect and starvation. Pin- 
turicchio never mastered the use of oil, but remained true 
to the system of tempera. Amongst his pictures on panel 
are the Assumption of the Virgin, in the gallery of the 
Studj at Naples ; and the Madonna and Child, and the 
donor half-length figures in a rich landscape in the 
Sacristy of S. Agostino at S. Severino ; also a large Adora- 
tion of the Kings, and a graceful Madonna and Child, in the 
Berlin Museum. 

Another name which has been included among the as- 
sistants of Perugino and the companions of Raphael is that 
of Andrea Allovisi, called L'Ingegno. Vasari's account of him 
teems with chronological errors, and modern research has 
elicited no proof of his existence as a painter. In the words 
of Sir Charles Eastlake, " Ingegno remains a mystery. The 
Sybils in the lower church of Assisi, usually quoted as 
his work, are much later in date, and are possibly, like 
the rest of the frescoes, by Adone Doni" Various pictures, 
more or less weak, of a Peruginesque class, bear his name, 
though in no instance founded on signature or other certain 
data. 

Next to Raphael, the most distinguished of Perugino's un- 
doubted scholars is the Spaniard, Giovanni di Pietro, called 
Lo Spagna. There is no record of his birth, or of the period 
when he joined Perugino. His style is a mixture of the 
Peruginesque and Eaphaelesque, which alternately pre- 
dominate, and are always carried out with conscientious 
finish and delicacy. There is also evidence of his power of 
imitation, in his adoption, as certain localities gave him 
opportunity, of the manner of Ghirlandajo's school, and of 
Fra Filippo LippL Upon the whole, he shows the greatest 
affinity to Perugino, whose influence is seen strongly im- 
pressed on frescoes painted as late as 1526-27. One of Lo 
Spagna's earliest pieces, though undated, is a Nativity 
executed for the Convent at Todi and now in the Vatican. 



280 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book ]V. 

A charming early specimen of his hand in the gallery at 
Kovigo is called a Perugino. In 1507 he is proved to have 
undertaken a Coronation of the Virgin for the church of the 
Eiformati at Todi. He repeated the same subject, and in 
most respects the same composition, for the Franciscans of 
S. Martino at Trevi, in 1511. An Assumption in the mortuary 
chapel of the same convent is one of his finest works. Of great 
excellence also is an Entombment in the church of the 
Madonna delle La grime near Trevi. Two canvases in the 
same church, containing the single figures of St. Catherine of 
Alexandria, and of St. Cecilia, are finely drawn, especially 
the head and hands of St. Catherine, and are redolent of 
Raphael. Lo Spagna's best picture, painted 1516, is in the 
chapel of S. Stefano, in S. Francesco at Assisi, representing 
the Madonna enthroned, with three Saints on each side. 
These are grand and severe figures, but full of genuine 
feeling and purity, and remarkable for grace and nobleness. 
That which is so attractive in the early pictures of Raphael 
is here followed out in the happiest manner. In the Stanza 
di S. Francesco, in the choir of the church Degli Angeli at 
Assisi, he painted a number of portraits of Saints, chiefly 
of the Franciscan Order, in varied action, and in fine drawing 
and colour. Spagna's chief residence was at Spoleto, where 
he has left numerous frescoes, scenes from the life of S. 
Jacopo, in the church of that name between Spoleto and 
Fuligno. Some of the latest of these show great feebleness. 
Evidences of his industry appear in frescoed churches at 
Eggi and at Gavelli, near Spoleto ; the Coronation of the 
Virgin being the subject most in demand from his hand. His 
death occurred in 1533.* 

The name of Jacopo Siculo appears as a follower of Lo 
Spagna ; he was also his son-in-law. A signed picture, of 
a Raphaelesque character, dated 1538, is in the church of 
S. Mamigliano at Spoleto. 

* Various pictures which have hitherto borne the name of Paphael are 
now ascribed to Lo Spagna. Among these Messrs. Crowe & Cavalcaselle 
include the tempera and much injured altar-piece called the Ancajani 
Raphael (see woodcut) in the Berlin Museum. The so-called Raphael in 
Mr. Thomas Baring's fine gallery is attributed alternately to Lo Spagna and 
to JEusebio di S. Giorgio. 



Chap. II. UMBRIAN SCHOOLS. 281 

Another scholar of Perugino, Euselio di S. Giorgio, shows 
the influence of Piiitnriccliio, and also sometimes emulates 
Lo Spagna in the imitation of Raphael's early works. The 
Adoration of the Kings in the Chapel of the Epiphany in 
S. Agostino, Perugia, dated 1505 or 1506, is powerfully and 
livelily conceived. Two frescoes in the cloisters of S. 
Damiano at Assisi, an Annunciation, and St. Francis re- 
ceiving the Stigmata (1507), are finely understood, and full 
of life and grand effect. His best work is the altar-piece in 
the Franciscan church at Matellica, signed, and dated 1512. 
This is imbued with the study of Raphael, for instance, in 
the little Baptist seated in the centre below. The heads 
and extremities of all the figures are admirable in drawing, 
modelling and colour. The predella picture shows a com- 
bination of Raphael, Perugino, and Pinturicchio. No later 
works by Eusebio are known, though ho lived considerably 
beyond that time. 

The other scholars of Perugino, with whose works the 
churches of Perugia and the neighbouring country overflow, 
imitated his manuer, without, however, rivalling him in feeling, 
or power of colouring. Among these may be mentioned 
Giannicola (Manni) : an altar-piece by him. consisting of a 
clever series of figures, is in the Academy at Perugia ; another 
is over the high altar of S. Tommaso, in the same town. 
The names of Berto di Giovanni, Tiberio a" Assisi, Francesco 
Melanzio, Sinibaldo Ibi, Giovanni Baltani Caporali, and 
Girolamo Genga may be added to the last. Here may be 
also mentioned Gerino da Pistoia, a follower of Perugino 
and friend of Pinturicchio. His name and the date 1502 
are on a Madonna del Soccorso the Virgin saving a Child 
from the Evil Spirit, while the mother kneels in prayer in 
S. Agostino in Borgo S. Sepolcro ; but the picture is too poor 
to serve as an example. Fragments of fresco in and about 
Borgo S. Sepolcro, show a warm colourist. This quality is 
also seen in an altar-piece in S. Pietro Maggiore at Pistoia, 
dated 1509. 

Giovanni Battista da Faenza, called Bertucci, was another 
painter influenced by Perugino and Pinturicchio, and who 
has also an aflinity in his gilt architecture and colossal 



282 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

arabesques to Marco Palmezzano. A signed altar-piece, 
dated 1506, in four pieces, is in the Faenza Gallery. It has 
much merit, especially the profile of the little St. John below 
with adoring hands. A Ferrarese character is also dis- 
cernible in Bertucci "and the monkey (bertuccio) introduced 
into pictures by Ercole Grandi, the Ferrarese master, sug- 
gests the possibility of Bertuccio having studied with him." * 
Adone Doni at first followed the same general style, but 
afterwards adopted that of the Eoman school formed by 
Raphael. A graceful Adoration of the Kings in his first 
manner is in S. Pietro at Perugia."]" Domenico di Paris Alfani, 
and his son Orazio, are of the same class. Domenico's name 
was associated in friendship with the youthful Raphael at 
Perugia, and the letter to him from the great master, with a 
sketch of the Borghese Entombment at the back, is preserved 
in the Wicat Collection at Lille. He and his son Orazio 
both equally copied the designs of Raphael. In this respect 
the Madonna and Child, in our woodcut, strongly recal the 
Orleans Raphael in the late Mr. Kogers' collection. In their 
later works, in which it is difficult to distinguish father from 
son, the influence of II Rosso Fiorentino, who fled to Perugia 
at the sack of Kome, is discernible. They are found working 
together on a Crucifixion, with SS. Jerome and Apollonia, as 
late as 1533, in which year Domenico is believed to have 
died. A graceful and highly finished Holy Family either 
by Domenico or Orazio is in the tribune of the Uffizi. 

Lastly, we find among Perugino's scholars the Florentines 
Francesco Ubertini, surnamed II Bacchiacca, who usually 
painted small pictures with numerous figures, and Rocco Zoppo, 
whose peculiar hardness reminds us of his relation Marco 
Zoppo, with whom he was perhaps professionally associated. 
An Adoration of the Shepherds, inscribed with Rocco's name, 
is in the Berlin Museum. 

Long after the death of Perugino, until the latter half of 
the sixteenth century, the painters of Perugia imitated his 

* Memorandum by Sir G. L. Eastlake, Faenza, 1858. 

f Adone Doni painted some Sibyls in S. Francesco, at Assisi, late in the 
sixteenth century. It has been sometimes erroneously asserted that 
Jtaphael imitated them, but thev were executed long after the great artist's 
death. C. L. E. 




HOLY FAMILY, by Domeuico di Pans Alfam 



Chap. II. FRANCESCO FRANCIA. 283 

manner and clung to his modes of conception, when the 
intrusion of a few artists of a naturalistic tendency at 
once put an end to these feeble remains of a once great and 
admirable aim. 

We must here introduce a painter equal in rank to 
Perui/ino ; namely, Francesco di Marco Raibolini, commonly 
called II Francia born at Bologna about 1450, died 1517. 
So strong an affinity exists between him and Perugino in 
period, in treatment both of tempera and oil, in tenderness of 
feeling, and in class of subject, that he is justly included 
among the Umbrians. Of Francia's education in art, little 
is known. He was apprenticed to a goldsmith in Bologna, 
and became steward to the Goldsmith's Guild there in 1483. 
It has been asserted that he turned his attention to painting 
at an advanced age ; at all events, he was master of his 
art by the time he was forty years old. It is believed that 
Lorenzo Custa, a Ferrarese painter who frequented Bologna, 
though younger than Francia, aud surmised to have been 
his pupil, gave him instruction in the secrets of colour. 
Mantegna also visited Bologna in 1472, but the fact that 
pictures by Perugino were seen in Bologna towards the close 
of the fifteenth century accounts probably for the Umbrian 
tendency of Francias works. His early pictures, one of 
which the Madonna, Child, and St. Joseph, painted for 
Bartolormneo Biauchini is in the Berlin Museum, show 
the hand of a goldsmith in the clear outline, the metallic 
and polished surface, and minut : a of detail. These charac- 
teristics were afterwards modified, though never entirely 
lost, in a higher development of pictorial feeling, while his 
signature " Aurifex," is to the latest date seldom absent 
from any of his more important productions. To the period 
between 1490 and 1500 belong the Madonna with six 
Saints, and the portrait of the donor, Bartolommeo Felicini, 
now in the Gallery of Bologna the beautiful Madonna and 
Child with Augels, formerly in the Zambeccari Collection, 
now at Munich and the Annunciation at the Brera. Francia 
was patronised by Giovanni Bentivoglio, then paramount 
in Bologna, and for him he executed, in 1499, the large 
altar-piece in the Bentivoglio Chapel in S. Jacopo Maggiore, 



284 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 

Bologna, representing the Virgin and Child with SS. Florian 
Augustiu, John Evangelist, and Sebastian, and Angels 
playing on musical instruments below, and in adoration 
on each side. This is one of his chefs-d'oeuvre for harmony 
and depth of colour, and fulness of expression. The group 
of the Virgin and Child here forms one of his most beautiful 
creations, and the figure of St. Sebastian one of his grandest. 
Another masterpiece in the Bologna Gallery Virgin and 
Child, Angels and Saints was also executed for a Ben- 
tivoglio, whose portrait, like that of Bartolommeo- Felicini, 
shows his mastery in this walk of art. The predella to 
this work by Lorenzo Costa, proves the friendship between 
the two painters. Francia's productions are too numerous to 
specify. The gallery of Bologna contains a rich series of 
them. As his art matured, the grace both of expression and 
composition increased. The Coronation of the Virgin in 
the Duomo at Ferrara, the Assumption at S. Frediano, 
Lucca, a Nativity in the Museum at Forli, however un- 
equal in parts, are all examples of his power of spiritual 
expression combined with gem-like colour. These qualities 
attain their utmost perfection in the picture with lunette in 
the National Gallery, formerly in the Buonvisi Chapel in 
S. Frediano, Lucca. The little Baptist, at the foot of the 
throne on which are seated the Madonna and St. Anna, 
pointing upwards, is one of the purest creations of art ; while 
the Madonna in the lunette Pieta is a pathetic reality both 
in age and expression such as no other painter has brought 
forth. The period of this refined maturity of grace in 
Francia corresponds with that of the friendship between 
himself and the youthful Raphael, suggested to have 
commenced in 1505-6, when Rapliael proceeded from 
Florence to Urbino, probably taking Bologna on his way, 
and further testified by letters which passed between them 
in 1508. 

Francia also transferred all his grace and sweetness into 
the art of fresco, the only surviving specimens of which are 
in the oratory of S. Cecilia at Bologna, a series illustrating 
the life of that Saint, and executed in conjunction with 
Lorenzo Costa in 1509. Two of these are by Francia 



Chap. II. FRANCESCO FRANCIA. 285 

St. Cecilia's marriage with St. Valerian, and her entomb- 
ment.* These are readily distinguishable from the rest by 
their exquisite purity and nobility of feeling, and by the 
harmony of lines and colour. The whole series have been 
subjected to neglect and injury of the most sordid de- 
scription. 

We have alluded to Francia's power over portraiture. 
The fine portrait of Vangelista Scappi in the Uffizi, is 
highly Peruginesque. Another, in the Louvre, long called 
a Raphael, and supposed to represent Timoteo della Vite 
scholar of Francia in 1491 is now adjudged to the master. 
To Francia also Messrs. Crowe and Cavalcaselle assign the 
tine portrait of a man of about forty years of age in the 
Lichtenstein Gallery, Vienna, long admired as a Raphael. 
Francia is also recorded to have excelled in female portraits.! 
No painter certainly has given greater sweetness and 
beauty to his Madonna heads. His power of rendering the 
tenderest and pearliest female complexion is unsurpassed, 
and a delicate carnation given to the eyelids, even in his 
heads of youths, which is one of the characteristics of the 
hand, in no way impairs the beauty of his type. The much 
injured Pieta in the Turin Gallery bears date 1515. A 
signed small Madonna and Child in the collection of Baron 
Speck, Lutschena, near Leipsic, bears his latest date, 1517. 
Much of Francia's charm is still seen here. He died in the 
first days of 1518. The story given by Vasari that his 
death was caused by envy and mortification at the sight of 
Raphael's St. Cecilia, on the arrival of that picture in 
Bologna 1514-16 is, like too many by the inaccurate 
historian, proved to be devoid of truth.J A sonnet addressed 
by Francia to Raphael, shows feelings of an opposite kind. 

* Engraved for the Arundel Society. 

t Calvi, sonnet by Gio. Cano, p. 54. 

J Respecting this much-disputed question, see the German translation 
of Vas.tri, vol ii. p. 353. That Francia did .not die of envy is sufficiently 
proved by his unvarying friendly intercourse with Raphael, as well as 
from the enthusiastic sonnet he addressed to him. See same volume, 
p. 350. A beautiful specimen of weetest composition and 

colour Saints adoring the Trinity is preserved, or rather is decaying, 
within the Baptistery of S. Giovanni Evangelista in Brescia. 

See Malrasia ' Felsina Pittrice,' vol. i. p. 46. 



286 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV 

On the other hand, it is easy to believe a saying imputed to 
Raphael, that Francias Madonnas were the most devoutly 
beautiful he knew. The master's type of the Madonna head 
was frequently imitated by his scholars, and not all the 
works ascribed to him in collections were really by his own 
hand. Among his best scholars, his cousin and son, Giulio 
and Giacomo Francia, may be mentioned ; they continued to 
practise the manner of the master, but never equalled him in 
beauty and dignity, nor in depth of expression. Numerous 
pictures by them are in the Berlin Museum, the Gallery at 
Bologna, and other places. Amico Aspertini, another artist 
from the school of Francia, was a capricious and fantastical 
painter ; he united the manner of his master with that of the 
school of Ferrara. A pleasing fresco by him, Diana and 
Endymion, with shepherds conversing in front, is in the 
Palazzo della Viola at Bologna. Two of his pictures are 
also in the Berlin Museum. His brother Guide Aspertini 
resembles him, but is less wild. An Adoration of the Kings 
by him, in the Gallery at Bologna, is an agreeable picture, 
though somewhat fantastical. He also contributed the 
subject of the decapitation of SS. Valerian and Tiburtius 
in the series of frescoes in S. Cecilia, Bologna, which are 
almost obliterated. He also painted frescoes in S. Frediano, 
Lucca. 

An account of Lorenza Costa, believed to have been 
Francid's pupil, will be given under the Ferrarese masters 
influenced by Mantegna. Of Timoteo della Vite, undoubtedly 
a scholar of Francia, but later an assistant of Raphael, more 
will be said under the school of the great master. 

The school of Siena, also, which, before its total decline 
in the first half of the fifteenth century, had acted upon the 
Umbrian, now received an impulse back again from that 
school, which, with other influences, led to its partial revival 
about the beginning of the sixteenth century.* Its sweet- 
ness, insipidity, and mechanical tendency have been set forth 
in these pages. In its later phase it remained true to 
itself, never throwing off the trammels of its local character. 

* See ' Raccolta delle piu celebri pitture esistenti nella cittst di Siena : 
Firenze, 1825.' 



Chap. II. SIENESE PAINTERS. 287 

though showing the influence of the general development of 
art in the great centres of Italy, and the impress of 
individual painters. Sienese artists also travelled to foreign 
parts, yet no infusion of foreign elements ever entirely 
sufficed to wear out the Sienese type. 

Bernardino Fungai is a Sienese painter who, in flatness, 
absence of chiaroscuro, and use of gilding, partakes of the 
school. But he is rather pleasing in his children and 
angels, where he is influenced by Perugino ; also in his 
landscapes, which, though peculiar in their faint blue 
distance, recal Pinturicchio. His type of Madonna head is 
insipid, and his male heads dry and poor. A characteristic 
of the master is the heaviness of his hands at the fingers' 
ends. The Coronation of the Virgin in the church of the 
Madonna di Fonte Giusta, Siena, is an average example of 
the painter. He is also numerously represented in the 
Sienese Academy. Fungai sometimes slightly resembles the 
Vivarini. He died in 1516. 

Giacomo di Bartolommeo Pacchiarotto, born 1474, died 
1540, is another painter of mixed character, more or less 
grafted on the Sienese stock. More is known of his life, 
which was a troubled one, than of his works. An Ascension 
in the Carmine, Siena, as well as several pictures in the 
Academy, are attributed to him. He is not only confounded 
by historians with Gimlamo del Pacchia, but the similarity 
of their art has assisted to keep up the mistake. 

Del PaccJtia, born 1477, is known to have been early in 
Rome, and the works believed to be his bear a strong 
Rafaelesque, and even Florentine impress. They are chiefly 
found in and near Siena. The Coronation of the Virgin in 
S. Spirito, is an example of his tendency towards the 
Rafaelesque school. The Madonna and Child between 
SS. Paul and Bernard, in the Sienese Academy, partakes of 
the character of Mariotto Albertinelli, and even of that of 
Fra Bariolommeo, which effectually conceals the Sienese 
type. In 1518, Del Paccliia took part with Beccafumi and 
Razzi in the frescoes in S. Bernardino, Siena. We give a 
specimen in our woodcut, showing that mixed character which 
precluded the formation of a consistent stylo. He also 



288 MASTERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Book IV. 



contributed three frescoes to the church of S. Caterina, 
illustrating the story of St. Catherine of Siena, who is repre- 
sented journeying to Monte Pulciano to visit S. Agnese. 
The third of the series, with the dead body of S. Agnese, 
is the most remarkable. The Virgin .and Child in the 
National Gallery, an agreeable picture with Sienese cha- 
racteristics, hitherto given to Pacchiarotto, is now assigned 
to Del Pacclda. 

Andrea Puccinelli del Bresciano, is another name of this 
Sienese period about 1520 to whom an altar-piece in the 
Academy is assigned. 

After this time a new tendency ensued in Sienese art in 
the person of Gianantonio Razzi, commonly called 11 Sodoma, 
who stands on a far higher level, and will be described 
further on.